Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Uncertainty reigns in Cuba

Few details of Castro's condition released after surgery -- leader reportedly says: 'My ... health has become a state secret that cannot be continually divulged'

James C. McKinley Jr.
New York Times
Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Mexico City -- Cuba was wrapped in uncertainty on Tuesday as the communist government released a statement suggesting that Fidel Castro had survived intestinal surgery but revealing few details of his condition.

After a long day of speculation and rumor, an announcer on state-run television and radio said Tuesday evening that he had spoken to Castro and read a statement he said had been written by the Cuban leader. In the statement, Castro said his condition was stable but that the full extent of his illness would not be known for several days.


Monday night, Castro -- who will be 80 Aug. 13 -- handed over power temporarily to his brother Raul to undergo surgery to repair intestinal bleeding, according to a statement read on Cuban television.


Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, made it clear Tuesday that the United States would be active in shaping events on the island if the Cuban leader died.

"The United States and the American people will do everything that we can to stand by the Cuban people in their aspirations for a democracy," he said.

President Bush said on Monday, before Castro's illness was announced, that the U.S. policy would be to undermine Raul Castro's rise to power. "We are actively working for change in Cuba," the president said, "not simply waiting for change."

There were unconfirmed reports the Cuban military had been placed on high alert Tuesday morning, and civil-defense militias had been warned to brace themselves for any attempts at unrest and to watch for signs of a U.S. invasion, Havana residents said in telephone interviews.

full story

Let's all hold hands and pray that one day our president Gilligan will end up a castaway in Cuba