Cuban leader Fidel Castro has said in a written communiqué that he is not strong enough to speak in public or campaign for Sunday’s parliamentary elections. It is the first time since having stomach surgery 17 months ago that the 81-year-old has acknowledged that he is too ill to campaign for himself. In video footage broadcast on Cuban television yesterday, Castro looked frail but upbeat enough for the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to say he seemed healthy enough to return to politics.
The two men were seen playfully taking photographs of each other and engaging in lively conversation. The photographs of the visit are the first of Castro in almost three months.
Although he stepped aside as Cuba’s active President in favour of his brother Raul, Castro remains head of the Council of State.
Re-election to the National Assembly is a necessary step if he is to continue to run the council.