Castro, whose government said he was hospitalized in Havana because of stress-related gastrointestinal bleeding, appointed his brother, Raul Castro, as temporary president of Cuba, leader of the nation's military and head of the Communist Party. A Cuban government source said late Monday night that while Castro's condition is serious, he is expected to recuperate.
In a statement read by one of his top deputies on national television, Castro said he would step away from power while he recovers. "The operation obligates me to undertake several weeks of rest," the statement said. Castro's intense schedule, the statement said, "provoked in me a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure."
Castro, whose 80th birthday is Aug. 13, is known for working at a breakneck pace and sleeping only a few hours each night. In mid-July, he traveled to Argentina for a gathering of South American leaders to formalize Cuba's involvement in the Mercosur trade agreement.
He has asked that planned celebrations of his birthday be postponed until Dec. 2, the 50th anniversary of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces. Castro and the rebels he led landed on the southern coast on that date in 1956, eventually taking power in 1959 after dictator Fulgencio Batista fled into exile.
The mood in Cuba was reported to be subdued. "We're really sad, and pretty shocked," Ines Cesar, a retired 58-year-old metal worker told the Associated Press in Havana. "But everyone's relaxed, too. I think he'll be fine."
Source: The Washington PostLast Mod: 00 0000, 00:00