Fidel sends New Year message

Campaign News | Sunday, 31 December 2006

Praises `serenity' of Cuban people during recovery

Cuban leader Fidel Castro praised his countrymen for their ``serenity and maturity" during the five months of his recovery from intestinal surgery and called on them to endorse the nation's Communist regime next year.

Castro said in his annual year-end address that his convalescence from intestinal surgery has been a ``prolonged" process and vowed to keep fighting to recover. Castro, 80, remains attentive to state affairs and is involved in making government decisions with a group of top officials.

``I had always warned that my recuperation would be a prolonged process, but the battle is far from lost," Castro said in the statement, which was published on the Web site of the official newswire. ``No one has managed to stop us."

This is the first message by Castro since Oct. 28, when he appeared on the national television visibly weakened. Castro underwent intestinal surgery on July 31 and handed control of the government to his brother Raul, 75, and a group of six top officials. Authorities in the Caribbean island nation have kept the nature of his illness secret.

Castro said he is cooperating with doctors as a ``disciplined patient." On Dec. 26, Spain-born surgeon Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido said Castro is in good health, dispelled rumors that he had cancer and reiterated he has no sign of any malignant disease. The U.S. government, which has opposed Castro's regime since his rise to power in Jan. 1, 1959, said he may die within six months.

Day-to-day life in Cuba has remained unaltered since Castro ceded power. The economy may expand this year at its fastest pace of growth since the start of Castro's regime, while foreign inflows coming from investment in the oil, nickel and tourism industries may peak, according to data by the Economy Ministry.

``Every success that we altogether achieve requires from each of us a bit more of our own efforts, so we can maintain the course," Castro said. ``More cooperation, more social discipline is needed."

Capitalism, Resources

In the address, unveiled at the end of each year to mark the anniversary of the triumph of Castro's ``revolution," he urged his countrymen to continue fighting capitalism. Castro said that capitalism is depleting non-renewable natural resources and leading to widespread pollution.

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