Bolivian leader happy with Fidel's recovery

Campaign News | Friday, 8 September 2006

Evo Morales pays surprise visit

La Paz, Sep 7 (Prensa Latina) Bolivia?s President Evo Morales said early Thursday he was happy about the recovery of Cuban President Fidel Castro, following a visit to Havana in which he met with the Caribbean country leader.

After returning from Cuba, Morales told Prensa Latina he was pleased for having had the opportunity to visit his colleague, the commander and president of Cuba, and very happy with his recovery.

The Bolivian leader said he was impressed with the constant concern of the Cuban head of government in relation to education and health issues.

Morales reported that the Cuban medical and literacy campaign cooperation with Bolivia were the main topics of his conversation with Fidel Castro.

According to Morales, they talked about the seven free ophthalmologic centers created in Bolivia by Cuba, as well as twenty equipped hospitals from the Caribbean country to assist poor people.

From the Washington Post newspaper

HAVANA - Bolivian President Evo Morales made a surprise half-day visit to Cuba on Wednesday to visit convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Cuban television said.

Morales spent two hours with Castro, who is recovering from emergency surgery to stop intestinal bleeding which forced him to cede power temporarily to his younger brother on July 31.

He is the second leader to visit the bed-ridden Castro. Venezuela's left-wing president Hugo Chavez, Castro's closest ally, has visited him three times.

Morales, an indigenous leader who rose from Bolivia's coca farmers movement to the presidency, lunched with Raul Castro and met with Bolivians studying medicine in Cuba before departing for La Paz on Wednesday evening.

Morales said he would be back in Havana next week for the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement of 116 developing nations.

It is not certain whether Fidel Castro will be able to host the summit, but he said on Tuesday he would receive visiting dignitaries in private. Cuba expects some 50 heads of state or governments to attend.

Photos released on Tuesday showed a gaunt-looking Castro reading and writing in a rocking chair in his pajamas.

In a message to the Cuban people, Castro said he had lost 41 pounds (18.6 kg) in a few days after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed medical condition. Cuban officials have denied that he has cancer.

Castro, 80, said his recovery would take a long time.

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