Fidel refutes stories on his state of health

Campaign News | Monday, 30 October 2006

“I am progressing as anticipated”

PRESIDENT Fidel Castro has personally refuted stories reporting a supposed worsening of his state of health and has affirmed that he is progressing as anticipated after his operation.

On Saturday evening, October 28, Cuban TV showed footage in which the leader of the Revolution appeared talking and reading out aloud headlines from the Granma and Juventud Rebelde newspapers.

“Now, when our enemies have prematurely declared me moribund or dead, I am pleased to send out this short filmed material to my compatriots and friends throughout the world, while insisting - as I have been doing for a while now - that my recuperation will be a lengthy one, which is not exempt from risks,” noted Fidel, wearing a tracksuit in the Cuban national colors.

“I am participating in many things. I watch the main news on television and am also participating in many of the most important decisions with comrades from the (Communist) Party and government leadership. I am doing everything possible to support the compañeros, to be useful, and I feel content,” he added.

He went on to show one of the telephones via which he makes a number of calls every day.

“Now let’s see what they say. Now they’ll have to resuscitate me, won’t they? It hasn’t bothered me, I have absolutely no fear of what is happening, but they’re making total fools of themselves,” he said.

I saw a newspaper shown on Venezolana de Televisión saying ‘Castro agonizing,’ ‘Castro dead.’ How stupid. On the contrary, they are prompting me to work and fight,” he affirmed on the video, in which he is also seen standing, exercising his arms and taking steps.

“I am aware that the problems of the world are very complicated, very serious, and arising everywhere. I feel the obligation - as we all should - to make a special effort to avert a fatal disaster for humanity,” he warned, adding:

“I don’t want to say any more, but as I watch all the news -never in my life have I seen so much news-I have been able to closely observe the panorama. And I am always fighting for something, and fighting with optimism!”

“That’s why I asked you to come here and take photos,” he concluded after energetically exclaiming the historic slogan of “¡Patria o Muerte, Venceremos!”

Fidel appears on Cuban TV

BBC News: Cuban television has broadcast the first images of President Fidel Castro in more than a month, defiantly addressing rumours that he had died.

Mr Castro said his recovery would be long and not without risk, but said he was "coming along just as planned."

He called the rumours "ridiculous" and said: "Let's see what they say now."

The 80-year-old, who temporarily handed over power to his younger brother in July following intestinal surgery, had not been seen since mid-September.

In the new video footage the ailing president was pictured walking unassisted and - to underscore that it is not archive material - reading a copy of Saturday's edition of Granma, the Communist Party daily newspaper.

"Now, when our enemies have prematurely declared me moribund or dead, I'm happy to send to our compatriots and friends around the world this short film footage," he said.

Cuban officials attending a ballet festival in Havana said they were delighted to see the images of President Castro.

"This is excellent news for everyone - all Cubans, and all of Cuba's friends," Vice President Carlos Lage said.

"We are really happy to see that Fidel is better and that every day he is moving forward," Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said. "He's not been lost, just working on his [recovery] plan."

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