Fidel refutes stories on his state of health

"I am progressing as anticipated"

HAVANA (30 October 2006) - 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!"

(Translated by Granma International)

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