Castro's health always state secret

(dpa) - The health of Cuban President Fidel Castro has always been a state secret in the small island country, where he handed over power to his brother in August 2006 during an operation for intestinal bleeding.

On Wednesday morning, he made his departure from power official, resigning as president of Cuba and its military commander, the Communist Party's official newspaper, Granma, reported.

Although Castro himself has referred to his illness on several occasions since then, he has not been seen live in public since 2006, although video footage was occasionally released when his closest friends in Latin America such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would visit him.

Little was known of his alleged ailments, and hypotheses were often amplified within the large community of exiled Cubans in Miami, Florida, just 160 kilometres away from the Caribbean island that Castro ruled with an iron fist for nearly half a century.

In January, Castro made the unusual revelation that he thought he was going to die when he fell seriously ill on July 26, 2006.

"When I fell ill on the night of the 26th and the early hours of the 27th I thought it would be the end," Castro wrote in a piece published by the dailies Granma and Juventud Rebelde. The revelation triggered some questions about whether he would go through with his candidacy for another term when Cubans hold National Assembly elections on Sunday.

On July 31, 2006 Castro "temporarily" gave up power to his brother, Raul, and has not returned to government or been seen in public since, although he has met with several distinguished guests.

Castro, 81, explained in January the details of the power transfer and recalled that, at the time he fell ill, he was revising the book Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography, by Spanish-born journalist Ignacio Ramonet.

The Cuban leader said was barely sleeping at all at the time he became sick.

Right before he fell ill in 2006, he joked about the Florida community of immigrants who have pre-planned stadium celebrations for when he dies - a sort of contemptuous send-off for a man they loathe.

"Let the little neighbours up north not worry, for I do not intend to exercise power until I am 100 years old," Castro said in a speech.

The hospital where he was treated in 2006 exercised strict security measures, barring employees from leaving at shift change in the early days.

The secrecy prompted speculation that reports of his illness could actually mean he was already dead.

In Florida, the county government where much of Cuba's immigrant community lives in Little Havana, set up a telephone hotline for rumour control about Castro's illness coming out of Cuba.

Castro is only known to have suffered two previous incidents of physical problems, and both happened in public. In June 2001, he had a fainting spell as he addressed a mass audience in Havana.

In October 2004, he slipped at the end of a rally in the Cuban town of Santa Clara, injuring his arm and leg. He subsequently was seen in public in a wheelchair for the first time ever.

The news of Castro's 2006 illness was divulged through a document that was handwritten and allegedly signed by Fidel Castro himself. The Cuban leader claimed that his health problems arose from stress from a visit to Argentina, where he had delivered a three-hour speech to a crowd of 50,000.

"This caused me an acute intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding which forced me to undergo complicated surgery," the Cuban president allegedly wrote.

He wrote that he would need "several weeks of rest" after the surgery - weeks that have stretched into more than 18 months.

Israel registers 2,738 new COVID-19 cases, 769,971 in total
Israel registers 2,738 new COVID-19 cases, 769,971 in total
Azerbaijani FM, Israeli ambassador discuss prospects for development of bilateral co-op (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani FM, Israeli ambassador discuss prospects for development of bilateral co-op (PHOTO)
Israel's hi-tech services exports up 19 pct in 2020
Israel's hi-tech services exports up 19 pct in 2020
Loading Bars
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani financial market
UK records another 7,434 coronavirus cases, 290 deaths
It is necessary to end deployment of Armenian armed forces on territory of Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
WHO reports over 420,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Istanbul’s major Galataport project to go live in April
0.03% of pupils and 0.1% of school staff in Georgia confirmed with Covid-19 this week
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on February 28
Uzbekistan's largest share in formation of GDP falls on Tashkent
Azerbaijan's revenues from tea, coffee exports double in Jan.2021
Cargo movements in Iran's Khalij-e-Fars port increase
China conditionally approves one-shot recombinant COVID-19 vaccine
Stock gains power Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to higher profit
More than 165,000 apply for Turkey’s most popular scholarship
Georgian Railway resumes passenger transfers
Kazakhstan reports value increase in all types of deposits
New road put into operation in Iran's Golestan Province
Azerbaijan sets up working subgroups to prepare 2021-2025 Development Strategy
Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling in Iran
Azerbaijan reports 172 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Finance to put up medium-term bonds for auction
Azerbaijan's banking sector ends January 2021 with profit
Foundation of several manufacturing enterprises laid in Iran's Qazvin Province
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for metal detector via tender
USAID to promote start-up dev’t in Turkmenistan
President Aliyev: Any attempt to violate implementation of November 10th declaration will be very harmful for Armenia (VIDEO)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for February 27
Bosnian TV channel visits liberated Azerbaijani Aghdam, reminds of Khojaly genocide
Azerbaijani police officers find ordnances left by Armenians in Khojavand (PHOTO)
Long-term energy demand impact of COVID-19 is modest
President Aliyev to Iranian reporter: Your question is a kind of an accusation (VIDEO)
New Zealand's largest city Auckland back to lockdown after COVID-19 case
Iran pins hopes on Swiss financial channel to purchase COVID-19 vaccines
Foreign journalists visit village where two-year-old Azerbaijani girl was killed by Armenians
Volume of cargo loaded, unloaded in Iran’s Chabahar port revealed
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's oil and gas sector
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for catering, housekeeping services
Kazakhstan boosts imports of Switzerland-made products
Uzbek ministry, German Society for International Cooperation sign agreement
Uzbekistan, China expand mutual trade despite COVID-19
Georgia reports 373 new cases of coronavirus on Feb.27
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Baku Metro continues preparatory work for commissioning of new 'November' 8 station
Iran's exports to Russia increase
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for pumps via tender
Kazakh airlines eye to launch several flights on Turkestan-Istanbul route
UNDP in Turkmenistan opens tender for services on seismic work
Volume of electricity generated by renewable energy power plants in Iran announced
Researcher talks monuments on ancient Azerbaijani lands vandalized by Armenians (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for Feb. 27
Azerbaijan's MoD shares footage from Gubadly's Afandilar village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iranian currency rates for February 27
Remittances from Azerbaijan to Georgia show highest growth rate
Belarus considering possibility of supplying agricultural machinery to Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenbashi Oil Refinery exceeds plan for kerosene production
Azerbaijani oil prices published
Kazakhstan's uranium mining company opens tender to acquire electro-technical materials
Issuance of construction permissions in Georgia down
Philippines extends partial coronavirus curbs in capital until end-March
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Kazakh gas supply company to attract equipment installation services via tender
Turkey's tourism industry puts hopes on safety measures for new season
Azerbaijani marketing platform plans to become regional player
Argentine health minister tests positive for COVID-19
Czech gov't declares new state of emergency over coronavirus
U.S. FDA advisors recommend approving Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
Increase in malware attacks makes cybersecurity more relevant than ever - Kaspersky Lab in Azerbaijan
South Korea vaccinates 18,000 to start ambitious COVID-19 campaign
US may announce new sanctions on Russia within weeks - White House press secretary
Founder of Indian Jet Airways eyes opening airline in Uzbekistan’s Namangan region
Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. intelligence report on Khashoggi's killing: statement
Israel registers 2,738 new COVID-19 cases, 769,971 in total
U.S. announces 'Khashoggi ban' for 76 Saudi individuals
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 427,000 in past day
Slovenia confirms first case of coronavirus variant identified in S. Africa
UN Security Council adopts resolution on vaccination
UK records another 8,523 coronavirus cases, 345 deaths
Kazakhstan shows interest in supplies of Belarusian sugar, its manufacturing technology
Turkey reports 9,205 new COVID-19 cases, 2,683,971 in total
Iran, Russia emphasize need to coop. in agricultural sector
When will Georgia receive its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?
House poised to approve Biden's $1.9T coronavirus relief bill in Friday vote
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Azerbaijan discloses volume of liabilities of banks in Jan. 2021 accounting for deposits
Azerbaijan imposes restrictions on import of poultry meat from Estonian county
Amount of financial support of Kazakh manufacturing sector by Baiterek holding increases
Attracting FDI can help Georgia to boost exports of high-value food products - OECD
European Council extends mandate of special representative for South Caucasus
Kuwait reports 1,022 new COVID-19 cases, 189,046 in total
WHO says COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Africa has gathered steam
Armenia has always supported terrorism - MP
EU supports JCPOA commitments
Azerbaijan focused on rehabilitation, reconstruction of liberated lands - MP
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president talks country's success in int'l information field
Baku Stock Exchange to auction off Azerbaijani Central Bank's short-term notes
Azerbaijan records growth of GDP in non-oil sector over Jan. 2021
Azerbaijan discloses volume of fruits and vegetables exported since early 2021
Azerbaijan would like to bring new ideas, proposals to region with help of OSCE - MP
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan talk opening ground checkpoints
All Armenian prisoners of war have been returned to Armenia - Azerbaijani MP
All news