Thursday, November 30, 2006

Illness forces Castro to bow out of birthday celebration

Illness forces Castro to bow out of birthday celebrations

AILING Cuban leader Fidel Castro told hundreds of admirers who travelled
to Havana for his delayed 80th birthday celebration that he was not well
enough to meet with them.

In a message read to Latin American artists at the launch of his
five-day birthday bash, Castro said his doctors told him he was not in
condition to meet with such a large crowd at the Karl Marx Theater.

Castro's message did not rule out an appearance later in the week, but
made it seem much less likely.

He has been seen by the public only in photos and videos since his July
31 announcement that he was temporarily ceding power to his brother,
75-year-old Defence Minister Raul Castro, while he recovered from
surgery for intestinal bleeding.

"I direct myself to you, intellectuals and prestigious personalities of
the world, with a dilemma," said the note, "I could not meet with you in
a small locale, only in the Karl Marx Theater, and I was not yet in
condition, according to the doctors."

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