Cuba => Cuba => Topic started by: Steve_YYZ on July 31, 2006, 10:02:00 PM

Title: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Steve_YYZ on July 31, 2006, 10:02:00 PM
 Castro hands power to brother during surgery
 Cuban President Fidel Castro is transferring power provisionally to brother Raul while he undergoes an operation, Cuban TV announces.
 Monday, July 31, 2006; Posted: 9:42 p.m. EDT (01:42 GMT)
 HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro was undergoing intestinal surgery and provisionally handed over power in the Communist island nation to his brother Raul, according to a statement read on Cuban television Monday night.
 Castro will turn 80 on August 13; he is about five years older than Raul, who has been publicly named as his brother's successor as president.
 Fidel Castro, Cuba's leader since 1959, joked last week that he had no plans to still hold power when he turns 100, Reuters reported.
 Castro's surgery came just weeks after a U.S. government report called for the United States to have assistance in Cuba within weeks of Castro's death to support a transitional government and help move the country toward democracy.
 And from the Associated Press
 Castro relinquishes power to brother
 Associated Press
 Mon, Jul. 31, 2006
 Cuban president Fidel Castro, shown with brother Raul, right, in a Cuban Parliament session in 2004, announced Monday night in a letter read by his secretary live on state television that due to illness he was temporarily relinquishing the presidency to his brother.HAVANA - Fidel Castro announced Monday night in a letter read by his secretary live on state television that due to illness he was temporarily relinquishing the presidency to his brother and successor Raul, the defense minister.
 In the letter read by his secretary Carlos Valenciaga, Castro said he had suffered gastrointestinal bleeding, apparently due to stress from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba, and had to undergo an operation.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: bellagio on August 01, 2006, 04:10:00 AM
Thanks Steve for that interesting news.   As soon as I got up this morning and put the TV I noticed that it had made the news on teletext:
 This is an article from the BBC's website:
  Castro steps aside after surgery (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5233556.stm)
 The following has not been reported at all, as far as I can see, but makes interesting reading and certainly gets MY support:
 Granma International - English Edition
 N E W S -  Havana. July 31, 2006
 200 British MPs from different parties have signed a Commons motion calling on the UK and the EU to promote better relations with Cuba.
 The coincidently numbered Motion 1959 —titled The EU’s Common Position on Cuba, filed by Ian Gibson, Labor Party legislator and president of the Multiparty Cuba Working Group— demonstrates that a large number of British MPs do not support the Bush administration’s policy against the island, just days after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced new measures to force a “regime” change in Cuba.
 The motion contains an explicitly negative statement against the so-called “Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba” created by the Bush administration, which proposes that the White House intensify its pressure on Cuba and the international community in order to guarantee support for its plan to eventually overthrow the Cuban government. That plan, which is documented in the report published July 10, 2006, includes the creation of an $80-million fund to “promote democracy” in Cuba.
  According to Ian Gibson, that operation is in violation of UN statutes, would destroy peace and stability throughout the Caribbean, and would have serious consequences for European countries with interests in the region. Cuba does not represent any threat to other nations, therefore its right to self determination must be defended and protected, states the motion.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: bellagio on August 01, 2006, 04:22:00 AM
Here is the traslated text of the statement taken from the BBC's website:
  Translated text (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5233770.stm)
 Text: Castro cedes powers  
 Cuban TV broadcast Castro's statement
 Cuban leader Fidel Castro has temporarily delegated power to his brother Raul after suffering intestinal bleeding which required surgery.
 The proclamation on the handover - the text of which follows - was read out on Cuban TV by Castro's personal assistant Carlos Manuel Valenciaga on 1 August.
  Proclamation by the commander in chief to the people of Cuba:
 As result of the great effort exerted to visit the Argentine city of Cordoba, to participate in the Mercosur meeting, the closing of the People's Summit in the historic University of Cordoba, and to visit Alta Gracia, the city where Che [Guevara] grew up, together with my participation in the commemoration in Granma and Holguin Provinces of the 53rd anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Garrisons on 26 July 1953, days and nights of nonstop work with hardly any sleep lead my health, which has withstood every test, to undergo extreme stress and a breakdown.
 This resulted in an acute intestinal crisis with persistent bleeding which forced me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure. All the details of this health incident are evidenced in the x-rays, endoscopies, and video record.
 The surgery makes it necessary for me to take several weeks of rest away from my duties and posts.
 Since our country is threatened by the US Government under circumstances such as these, I have made the following decisions:
 I provisionally delegate my functions as first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba to its second secretary, comrade Raul Castro Ruz.
 I provisionally delegate my functions as commander in chief of the heroic Revolutionary Armed Forces to the aforementioned comrade, Army General Raul Castro.
 I provisionally delegate my functions as president of the Council of State and Government of the Republic of Cuba to the first vice president, comrade Raul Castro Ruz.
 I provisionally delegate my responsibilities as head of the national and international public health programme to the Politburo member and public health minister, comrade Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera.
 I provisionally delegate my responsibilities as head of the national and international education programme to comrades Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and Esteban Lazo Hernandez, members of the Politburo.
 I provisionally delegate my responsibilities as head of Cuba's national Energy Revolution programme and collaboration with other countries in this area to comrade Carlos Lage Davila, member of the Politburo and secretary of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers.
 The corresponding funds for these three programmes; health, education, and energy, should continue to be managed and administered, as I have personally done, by comrades Carlos Lage Davila, secretary of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers, Francisco Soberon Valdes, minister and president of the Central Bank of Cuba, and Felipe Perez Roque, minister of foreign relations, who worked with me in these duties and should form a commission to that end.
 Our glorious Communist Party, with the support of the mass organisations and all the people, has the mission of taking on the task given them in this proclamation.
 The summit of the Non-Aligned Countries, which will be held from 11-16 September, should receive the greatest attention of the Cuban nation and state and be held with the highest level of excellence on the planned date.
 I plead that the thousands of personalities who so generously planned to celebrate my 80th birthday this 13 August postpone the celebration until 2 December of this year, the 50th anniversary of the Granma landing.
 It is my request that the party's Central Committee and the National Assembly of the People's Government firmly support this proclamation. I have not the slightest doubt that our people and our Revolution will fight until the last drop of blood to defend these and other ideas and measures that may be necessary to safeguard this historic process.
 Imperialism will never be able to crush Cuba. The battle of ideas will continue.
 Long live the fatherland.
 Long live the Revolution.
 Long live socialism.
 Onward to victory forever.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: debmich on August 01, 2006, 09:47:00 AM
I was a little shocked when I opened my news page and found the same article!
 Not sure if I would want to be there now, or not want to be there now?  
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: millybess on August 01, 2006, 10:38:00 AM
Definitely uncertain times in Cuba.
 I heard that he was supposed to read the statement himself and then had someone else do it for him.
 Has there been a date mentioned when he is expected to return?
 Aren't his official birthday celebrations to be held on August 13th?  I wonder if that will still happen.
 Apparently not much is known about Raul and there seems to be speculation that he might be more agreeable to dealing with the U.S.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: bellagio on August 01, 2006, 10:50:00 AM
All the uncertainty has not deterred me from still looking forward to my next two holidays there.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: debmich on August 01, 2006, 10:54:00 AM
Millybess the article I read this morning said that his birthday celebrations are being pushed to December 2nd to coincide with other celebrations!
  Article (http://apnews.excite.com/article/20060801/D8J7LD7G0.html)
 "Fidel Castro seemed optimistic of recovery, asking that celebrations scheduled for his 80th birthday on Aug. 13 be postponed until Dec. 2, the 50th anniversary of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces."
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Milli on August 01, 2006, 10:56:00 AM
:th:  Apparently Fidel has requested that his birthday celebration be postponed until December.  That would seem the sensible thing with this being major surgery.
 This will not deter me from continuing to look for a booking in late October but I will be watching for any fall out for sure.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: PastorAsh on August 01, 2006, 11:20:00 AM
It's funny how quickly CNN pulls this story out of their "archives" for everyone to see "what will happen" in the eventual death of Castro.
  CNN Story (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/06/30/after.castro/index.html)
 What I find most humorous is that it calls for the US government to be in Cuba within weeks of Castro's death to start changing things over to democracy. Somehow I doubt that will happen so quickly, though I surmise it will eventually happen.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Gambitt on August 01, 2006, 02:12:00 PM
I hate to be a doom-sayer, but I think this time it might not bode well for old Fidel.
 His statement is a little too "all encompassing"... all of his powers divested.  This doesn't look like a short term deal.
 Of course, their are souces out there who say he's already gone, but that's happened before.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 01, 2006, 02:17:00 PM
U.S. Has Plan to Aid Post-Castro Cuba
 By GEORGE GEDDA , 08.01.2006, 12:45 PM
 The Bush administration said Tuesday it is monitoring the health crisis of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, as officials restated their goal of helping to ensure a democratic transition on the island.
 Three weeks before the official announcement in Havana of Castro's deteriorating health, a U.S. presidential commission called for an $80 million program to bolster non-governmental groups in Cuba for the purpose of hastening an end to the country's communist system.
 The report also proposed "assistance in preparing the Cuban military forces to adjust to an appropriate role in a democracy." It provided no details on this point.
  MORE (http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/ap/2006/08/01/ap2919370.html)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: bellagio on August 01, 2006, 03:43:00 PM
Originally posted by Gambitt:
 Of course, their are souces out there who say he's already gone, but that's happened before.
He was in Argentina the other week and in Holguin as recently as 26th July.
 However Eric I am inclined to believe that the first part of your statement may well be true.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Steve_YYZ on August 01, 2006, 03:50:00 PM
Newswires are now saying that Castro survived his surgery and is resting comfortably.
 Time will tell what the truth really is.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: millybess on August 01, 2006, 07:11:00 PM
From CNN:
 Fidel Castro says his health situation is "stable" and he's in "good spirits," according to a message aired on Cuban television Tuesday evening.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: millybess on August 01, 2006, 07:23:00 PM
Castro Says He's Stable After Surgery
 Associated Press Writer
 HAVANA (AP) -- Fidel Castro said Tuesday that his health was stable after surgery, according to a statement read on state television, as the Communist government tried to impose a sense of normalcy on the island's first day in 47 years without Castro in charge.
 Castro, who temporarily handed power to his younger brother Raul on Monday night after undergoing intestinal surgery, indicated the surgery was serious when he said: "I can not make up positive news."
 But he said his health was "stable," and "as for my spirits, I feel perfectly fine," according to the statement read by moderator Randy Alonso on a daily public affairs program.
 Castro expressed his gratitude for the good wishes he received from leaders and supporters around the world, and called on Cubans to remain calm and maintain their daily routines.
 "The country is prepared for its defense," he said in the statement. "Everyone needs to struggle, and work."
 Castro's comments came after Parliament Speaker Ricardo Alarcon dismissed suspicions among anti-Castro exiles that the Cuban leader was dead, said the president's "final moment is still very far away."
 Raul Castro, the island's acting president, was nowhere to be seen as Cubans began to worry about what comes next and exiles in Miami celebrated a development they hoped signaled the death of a dictator. Cuban dissidents kept a low profile while watching for signs of Castro's condition.
 "Everything's normal here - for the moment," said hospital worker Emilio Garcia, 41, waiting for a friend at a Havana hotel. "But we've never experienced this before - it's like a small test of how things could be without Fidel."
 Alarcon rejected the notion that Castro's condition could be critical. He told the government's Prensa Latina news service that the Cuban leader is known for fighting to the very end, but said his "final moment is still very far away."
 Alarcon also expressed disgust over celebrations taking place in Miami's Cuban exile community, "vomit-provoking acts" he said were being led by "mercenaries and terrorists."
 He called on Cubans to unite and follow the example of Castro, who "watches over every detail and takes measures to confront any enemy aggression."
 The main newscast on state-run TV gave no details of the 79-year-old leader's condition, but ran a string of man-on-the-street interviews with Cubans wishing him well and professing confidence in the revolution's staying power. The anchor said Castro had the people's "unconditional support."
 It was unknown when or where the surgery took place or where Castro was recovering. Alarcon called the surgery a "delicate operation" but provided no details.
 The Venezuelan government, Cuba's closest ally, said Cuban officials reported Castro was "advancing positively" and leftist Argentine lawmaker Miguel Bonasso said Castro aides told him the leader was resting peacefully.
 Alarcon said Castro made a point of delegating all responsibilities when his doctors told him to rest - a decision he said was made by a man "who was completely conscious and able to adopt these resolutions."
 Castro had been seen frequently in recent days, delivering speeches in eastern Cuba during a revolutionary holiday and making waves at a trade summit in Argentina. Those back-to-back trips and the resulting stress "ruined" his health, according to his letter.
 "It's so surprising, because in Argentina he gave off such a strong political image and looked quite vital," said Rafael Marti, a businessman from Spain visiting Cuba with his wife. He said he didn't expect rapid change on the island 90 miles south of Florida.
 Cubans agreed nothing was likely to change overnight - especially not with Castro's fiercely loyal brother at the helm. Raul Castro, who turned 75 in June, has been his brother's constitutional successor for decades and has assumed a more public profile in recent weeks.
 The calm delivery of the announcement appeared intended to signal that any transition of power would be orderly. Yet some feared resentment over class divisions could spark conflict if a political vacuum develops.
 "It's better for things to move slowly, instead of abrupt change," Garcia said. "But people are a bit nervous - anything could happen."
 Dissidents said they expected the government to be on the defensive, with a high security presence and a low tolerance for political acts.
 "It's clear that this is the start of the transition," said activist Manuel Cuesta Morua. "This gives Cuba the opportunity to have a more rational leadership" because top leaders will be forced to work together rather than following one man.
 Officials halted some interviews by journalists Tuesday, with one plainclothes officer ejecting an Associated Press reporter from a cafe for asking questions. People on the street were reluctant to talk to foreign journalists, and many declined to give full names.
 "We've been asked to keep things normal here, and to make sure that the revolution continues," said Daniel, a young social worker.
 Government work centers brought employees together for small rallies throughout Havana.
 "For this man, we must give our life," a customs worker told a crowd waving Cuban flags and shouting "Long live Fidel!"
 Elsewhere, it looked like a regular day in Havana, with people packed into buses and standing in line outside stores.
 Across the Florida straits in Miami, where hundreds of thousands of fleeing Cubans have settled, boisterous celebrations Monday night gave way to speculation about what would happen in Cuba when Castro dies. Car horns still blared, but some cautioned the celebrations may have been premature.
 Many Cubans on the island thought the Miami celebrations were in poor taste.
 "We aren't going to celebrate someone's illness," said a waitress who wouldn't give her name.
 The leaders of China, Venezuela, Bolivia and Mexico wished Castro well.
 He has been the world's longest-ruling head of government, and his ironclad rule has ensured Cuba's place among the world's five remaining communist countries, along with China, Vietnam, Laos and North Korea.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: flopnfly on August 01, 2006, 10:09:00 PM
I would love to be in Cuba right now, it must be crazy there.  I'm sure that nobody is talking, but the excitement and anticipation must be killing them.
 Gossip around the water cooler is that Castro is either already gone, or on his last legs and they aren't admitting it.      :D
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Canuks on August 01, 2006, 10:11:00 PM
That seems to be the feeling if you listen to the American news - maybe not so I understand if listening to other European world news.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: millybess on August 01, 2006, 10:39:00 PM
I wonder if his brother has made any public appearances today in his new position?
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Steve_YYZ on August 01, 2006, 10:48:00 PM
News around the water cooler.....
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 02, 2006, 12:36:00 AM
And we are allowed to speculate here as well   :D
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: flopnfly on August 02, 2006, 05:43:00 AM
Originally posted by Bulldog:
  And we are allowed to speculate here as well    :D  
Bulldog, nobody really knows the true facts except Castro himself, so everything you hear and read is speculation of some sort.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: flopnfly on August 02, 2006, 07:12:00 AM
I think we need to send our resident photographer Steve, over to Havana to find out the truth.  
 You know what they say, a picture speaks a thousand words.
 We can get up to the minute news from our "Man in Havana"     :D
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: millybess on August 02, 2006, 09:46:00 AM
Very interesting article in  TIME on Raul.
 Why Raul Castro Could End Up a Reformer
 The Cuban dictator's brother has long been known as Fidel's enforcer. But at 75, he is also less rigid and confrontational, and may have little choice but to open the island's economy
 When the Bush Administration began delivering hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba, in 2002, most in Washington expected Cuban President Fidel Castro to go ballistic. He didn't. And according to vetÿÿeran Cuba watchers like former CIA analyst Brian Latell, it was Fidel's younger brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro, who kept the communist dictator's anti-yanqui rants in check. Going further, Raul even assured reporters that if any Guantanamo prisoners escaped, Cuban security forces would capture and return them — a gesture that left much of the international community scratching its head.
 Raul Castro has always been known as Fidel's enforcer — the ideologically hard-line, iron-fisted watchdog of his big brother's regime. It's hardly an undeserved rep, one he started building by overseeing the summary execution of scores of soldiers loyal to former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista after Fidel overthrew Batista in 1959. But as Raul, 75, takes control of that government this week — at least, according to an official communiqué, until Fidel recuperates from major surgery to stop intestinal bleeding — Washington may be straining for more signs of his lesser-known side.
 Indeed, Raul is also called "the practical Castro," and when and if he does succeed Fidel permanently, many Cuba watchers speculate that he'll actually bring a less confrontational, more reform-minded rule to the communist island. "I think he will try to adopt more of a China economic model, probably continuing much of the harsh political regime but allowing more private enterprise and loosening foreign investment rules," says Latell, a senior researcher at the University of Miami's Cuba Institute and author of the recently published book After Fidel. "And I think he's also going to want better relations and more dialogue with the U.S."
 Publicly, Bush Administration officials say that wouldn't be enough to lift Washington's 44-year-old economic embargo against Cuba. They insist that Raul, even if he does open Cuba's threadbare economy, is every bit the unacceptable tyrant Fidel is — someone who promises more of the autocratic status quo than any kind of democratic transition. But privately, some admit they prefer the prospect of a Raul interregnum to the kind of post-Fidel chaos that could result in tens of thousands of Cubans rafting into South Florida — just the sort of diplomatic and logistical crisis that has long spooked U.S. Presidents as much as Fidel Castro himself has. The U.S. also has to worry about a flood of joyous Cuban exiles suddenly heading back to their homeland and potentially exacerbating the chaos there, though the U.S. believes it has a solid Coast Guard plan to prevent that.
 The 1996 Helms-Burton law essentially prohibits the U.S. from dealing with Raul if he succeeds Fidel. But some State Department officias confide that if Raul does take reform steps and reaches out to the U.S., it would be the height of folly for Washington to remain on the sidelines, no matter how many votes that might preserve in the politically potent Cuban exile community in South Florida.
 In truth, Raul really has little choice but to be practical. He is known to be more down-to-earth and sociable than Fidel — unlike Fidel, he loves to drink, dance and tell ribald jokes — and he has been Fidel's most trusted No. 2 since they were guerrillas fighting in Cuba's eastern Sierra Maestra in the 1950s. But Raul enjoys little if any of the mystical popularity that Fidel still retains, at least among older Cubans, and which has helped keep him in power since his 1959 revolution. That's a big reason why the government in recent months has engineered a p.r. makeover for Raul that included a lengthy article in the official mouthpiece, Granma, highlighting his warm and fuzzy side as a family man and grandfather. But that may not do the trick. To forge a viable connection with Cuba's 11 million beleaguered people, many analysts believe Raul will also have to loosen their leashes more than Fidel ever allowed.
 At a military celebration last month, Raul, who became a communist as a youth, well before Fidel, insisted that "only the Communist Party" can rule Cuba and "anything else is pure speculation." But at the same time, Raul may carry more perestroika in his political DNA than Fidel does. When the Soviet Union's lavish economic aid to Cuba disappeared in the early 1990s and many Cubans faced possible starvation, Raul convinced a reluctant Fidel to reopen the island's private agricultural markets as an incentive to increase food production. "Beans are more important than rifles," he insisted. Latell agrees: "It was Raul, not Fidel, who realized that Cuba was going to have to pursue economic reforms to survive" and he put many of his military officers in charge of new enterprises like tourism. In After Fidel, Latell writes that Raul, "unlike his brother, has never been motivated by an ego-charged quest for fame and glory or internationalist gratification. He does not thrive on conflict and confrontation as Fidel has since childhood. He worries more about the economic hardships the Cuban people endures, and is likely to more flexible and compassionate in power."
 Other veteran Cuba analysts, not surprisingly, insist that this is too charitable a characterization of a man so long associated with an oppressive military and security apparatus, responsible for imprisoning and in many instances torturing thousands of dissidents. And a number of factors could keep Raul on the hard line even after Fidel dies. For one thing, the largesse of Fidel's left-wing and oil-rich ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has helped significantly to keep Cuba's economy afloat, lessening the urgency of economic reforms that many had expected under Fidel in recent years. (Cuba may also be buoyed by recent discoveries of ample crude reserves off its own coast.) What's more, just beneath Raul sit a number of younger and ideologically purer communist officials, like 40-year-old Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, who are known derisively by many Cubans as "los Taliban" and could limit Raul's room to maneuver on any potential reform.
 For now, however, the Cuban government insists that Raul's hold of the reins is temporary, perhaps just a few weeks or months until Fidel is back on his feet. In all his 47 years in power, Fidel, who turns 80 on August 13, has never ceded power like this to anyone. And when asked why, if Fidel really is still alive, he would so uncharacteristically let aides make such an important announcement rather than do it himself, reliable official sources in Havana insist that convalescence from his intestinal surgery requires that he do absolutely nothing but lie still in the following days, not even read a communiqué on air.
 Even U.S. intelligence officials caution that the jubilation in Miami1s Cuban exile community over Castro's imminent demise is "way too premature," says one. "At this point there's no reason to doubt what the Cubans themselves are saying about his condition." Pentagon and U.S. intelligence officials tell TIME they believe that Castro's operation occurred late last week — perhaps on Thursday or Friday — and that the Cuban government would not have announced the temporary transition arrangement unless it was sure that the dictator would pull through. Castro will have a lengthy convalescing period, these officials believe, during which his brother will have to make decisions and public appearances in his place. "This is a serious dry run of the their succession plan," another U.S. intelligence official says. "And they're looking at how the Cuban people and the international community reacts to Raul in charge." Sources in Cuba, however, dispute that notion and suggest the surgery only took place Monday morning of this week. Either way, even if Fidel should die in the coming days, Raul seems to represent the kind of unchaotic transition in Cuba that both Fidel and, frankly, the nine U.S. Presidents he has tormented since 1959, would prefer. —With reporting by Douglas Waller/Washington
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 02, 2006, 03:05:00 PM
Originally posted by flopnfly:
Originally posted by Bulldog:
  And we are allowed to speculate here as well     :D  
Bulldog, nobody really knows the true facts except Castro himself, so everything you hear and read is speculation of some sort. [/b]
I would hope a couple more people would know
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: flopnfly on August 02, 2006, 09:52:00 PM
Good article Millybess.
 It's interesting to read that Raul was behind the developing tourism in Cuba.  If that's true then we as tourists have noting to fear except maybe a few more Americans on the shores of Cuba.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 03, 2006, 04:37:00 AM
Sister says Castro getting better
 Younger sister sees good and bad sides of ailing dictator
 Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Posted: 10:03 p.m. EDT (02:03 GMT)
 MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Fidel Castro is still "very sick" but no longer in intensive care, and he is expected to recover and take back the reins of Cuba, his sister Juanita said in Florida on Wednesday.
 Fidel Castro fell ill earlier this week, requiring him to undergo emergency intestinal surgery. He handed over the communist government's to his brother Raul, who is vice president and defense minister. It was the first time Fidel Castro had ceded control of Cuba in 47 years.
 Cuban television reported Tuesday that the Cuban leader was in "good spirits." But his hospitalization has nonetheless spurred a deluge of speculation, some saying that Castro is on his deathbed, others saying he's already dead.
 But Juanita Castro says her brother is "doing better" and she expects that Raul's executive appointment will be temporary.
 "He's very sick, but he's not dead," she said. "He is very sick, but he has left the ICU."
 She hasn't spoken to Castro since 1963, the year before she emigrated to Miami. But Juanita Castro said her information about her brother is accurate.
 "I have my way to know everything -- not everything, but some very important things," she said.
 Rumors about Fidel Castro's demise prompted many in Miami -- home to thousands of Cuban expatriates -- to take to the streets in celebration, a display Juanita Castro found distasteful, she said.
 "I am very disappointed," she said. "It is not necessary to make this demonstration."
 Juanita and Fidel Castro have rarely seen eye to eye. She said that in the the 1960s and 1970s she often criticized her brother over the thousands of political prisoners in Cuban jails or for what she called general subversion by Cuba throughout Latin America.
 In October 1968, six years after she left Cuba and nine years after the revolution that put Fidel in power, Juanita Castro took to the Miami airwaves and denounced her brother's government as "bankrupt, absolutist tyranny."
 Though she still opposes her older brother's politics, Juanita Castro said she is concerned about him.
 "The blood, it's very strong," she said. "He's my brother; I am worried that he is suffering."
 Fidel Castro has two brothers and four sisters.
 Juanita said she has a special perspective on her brother and sees him as two separate people: "as a Cuban dictator and, the other side, as my brother Fidel. It's the same blood."
 "This is a very strong feeling. I can't deny what I feel," she said.
 Asked whether she expected to see her brother, famed for his oratory skills, give another speech, she said, "I have no doubt, perhaps."
 http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/08/02/castro.sister/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/08/02/castro.sister/index.html)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bigjohn on August 03, 2006, 06:03:00 AM
Originally posted by Bulldog:
  She hasn't spoken to Castro since 1963, the year before she emigrated to Miami.
 In October 1968, six years after she left Cuba....
 "The blood, it's very strong," she said.
 .... she said, "I have no doubt, perhaps."
When did she leave?
 She has not seen or talked to Fidel for 43 years. How strong is that blood?
 Her 15 minutes are up.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: That Woman on August 03, 2006, 08:42:00 AM
Fidel’s message to the Cuban people and friends around the world
 I cannot invent good news, because that would not be ethical, and if the news were bad, the only one who is going to take advantage of that is the enemy. In the specific situation of Cuba, due to the plans of the empire, my state of health becomes a secret of state that cannot be divulged constantly; and the compatriots should understand that. I cannot fall into the vicious circle of parameters of health that constantly fluctuate throughout the day.
 I can say that the situation is stable, but any real evolution of one’s state of health requires the passing of time.
 The most that I can say is that the situation has to remain stable for many days before a verdict can be given.
 I am very grateful for all the messages from our compatriots and many other people in the world.
 I am sorry to have caused so much concern and trouble to friends throughout the world.
 In terms of my spirits I am perfectly well.
 What is important is that everything in the country is running and will continue to run perfectly well.
 The country is prepared for its defense by the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the people.
 Our compatriots will know everything in due time, as was the case when I had my fall in Villa Clara.
 We must fight and work.
 August 1, 2006, 5:30 p.m.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: PastorAsh on August 03, 2006, 10:18:00 AM
I just started a subscription to Macleans, so I'm looking forward to seeing an article next week on all this stuff. Should be interesting for sure.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: millybess on August 03, 2006, 01:34:00 PM
Originally posted by PastorAsh:
  I just started a subscription to Macleans, so I'm looking forward to seeing an article next week on all this stuff. Should be interesting for sure.
It will be interesting to read about it from a Canadian and hopefully objective point of view.   :)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: millybess on August 03, 2006, 01:41:00 PM
Originally posted by flopnfly:
  Good article Millybess.
 It's interesting to read that Raul was behind the developing tourism in Cuba.  If that's true then we as tourists have noting to fear except maybe a few more Americans on the shores of Cuba.
I found that interesting too flopnfly.
 I was surprised to read that he was a Communist long before his brother.
 Another thing that I found interesting was that he is more sociable.  You would think we would hear more about him.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 05, 2006, 04:47:00 AM
Cuba: Raul's in charge, Fidel is OK
 Government vows to defend itself against push for democracy
 Friday, August 4, 2006; Posted: 4:37 p.m. EDT (20:37 GMT)
 HAVANA, Cuba (AP) -- Cuba's Communist leadership launched a campaign Friday emphasizing the revolutionary roots of Fidel Castro's brother and designated successor, attempting to reassure Cubans that the regime remains stable after the leader's hospitalization.
 The government said it would defend itself against any U.S. attempts to take advantage of Castro's health crisis after President Bush urged Cubans to push for democratic change.
 Cuban Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer said during a trip to Guatemala that Castro was doing well.
 http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/08/04/raul.campaign.ap/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/08/04/raul.campaign.ap/index.html)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: flopnfly on August 05, 2006, 08:42:00 AM
I don't pretend to know anything about the politics between Cuba and America, but it strikes me that Bush is going to do everything in his power to take advantage of this situation.
 What I don't understand is why does he want control of Cuba?  Why is this little island so important to the Americans?  Is there oil reserves there that he wants, as this seems to be the case of every other "war"  that he has launched under the pretense of saving the people from oppression.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Harlequin on August 05, 2006, 10:13:00 AM
The US as never been happy at losing it's influence in Cuba, if there is oil to be gained that would be a bonus
 Spanish refusal to deal with the growing independence movement in the late 19th century led to two wars of independence. The first, between 1868 and 1878, ended in stalemate; the second, in which the rebels were inspired by the poet and revolutionary, José Martí, began in 1895 and ended when the USA was drawn into the war in 1898. Although nominally independent thereafter, Cuba was initially occupied for two years by US forces. After their withdrawal in 1901, the USA maintained effective political and economic control of the island, while Cuba was governed by a series of corrupt dictators such as Fulgencio Batista and Carlos Pro Socarrás. In 1959, after a classic guerrilla campaign, Fidel Castro overturned the hugely corrupt Batista Government and established a socialist state.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Charmainiac on August 05, 2006, 10:16:00 AM
Simply? Yes Heather! Someone else (I think Steve) posted a recent article about how for years Fidel had exploration projects on the go searching for oil. He was convinced that there were oil deposits in & around Cuba. According to the article posted, Fidel has been vindicated - there are 59 of them off the North coast!
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: debmich on August 05, 2006, 02:17:00 PM
I think Bush may have his hands full right now, if he wasn't so pre-occupied (Pun intended), he may have time to occupy more places like Cuba!
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 05, 2006, 08:01:00 PM
Cuban officials mum on Castro's condition
 Saturday, August 5, 2006; Posted: 7:53 p.m. EDT (23:53 GMT)
  MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- The Cuban government has provided no details on Fidel Castro's health and released no pictures of the leader since it announced Monday night that he was having surgery and handing power to his brother.
 Cubans were told in a statement attributed to Castro that most details of his health would be kept "a state secret" to prevent the island's enemies from taking advantage of his condition.
 Most Cubans have insisted that they are sure Castro will recover and that the government will function fine until then. But others have privately expressed worries that their leader may be more sick than the world knows.
 Speculation around the world has filled the information void.
  http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/08/05/castro.quiet.ap/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/08/05/castro.quiet.ap/index.html)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 06, 2006, 02:06:00 AM
Aging, ailing Castro will return, Cuba says
 By Marc Frank
 HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban officials said an aging and ailing Fidel Castro was recovering and could return to power in a few weeks, even though he remained out of sight five days after surgery that forced him to put his brother in charge of the country.
 They tried to allay suspicions the 79-year-old Communist leader had lost his grip on the island nation he took over in a 1959 revolution, but admitted his health may require him to reduce his workload.
 A military reservist walks underneath a banner reading "Long live Fidel, 80 more," in reference to Cuba's President Fidel Castro's upcoming birthday, in Havana, August 4, 2006. (REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa)
 Government sources said Castro was well enough to be eating and sitting up, but he has not been seen in public since July 26.
 Brother Raul, 75, has not surfaced since Fidel gave him provisional power on Monday, which has triggered speculation about who is in charge.
 http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/8/6/worldupdates/2006-08-06T100659Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_-262556-2&sec=Worldupdates (http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/8/6/worldupdates/2006-08-06T100659Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_-262556-2&sec=Worldupdates)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 06, 2006, 02:08:00 AM
Cuba's Castro 'does not have cancer'
 Sunday 06 August 2006, 7:45 Makka Time, 4:45 GMT  
 Cuba's vice-president has denied that Fidel Castro has stomach cancer and said the president is recuperating well after his surgery.
 "He is coming along well," Carlos Lage told reporters during a visit to Bolivia for the opening of a constitutional assembly on Saturday. "He's been made well by the operation and is recuperating favourably."
 Brazilian newspaper Folha de S Paulo had reported that Cuban officials had told Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president, that Castro had a malignant stomach tumour and his condition was worse than has been publicly admitted.
 Lage said the 79-year-old leader could return to power "in several weeks".
 http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D3339804-3617-4C8F-972A-C3EC4BF42574.htm (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D3339804-3617-4C8F-972A-C3EC4BF42574.htm)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: flopnfly on August 07, 2006, 01:32:00 PM
Official: Castro will return to work
   web page (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14202250/#storyContinued)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Steve_YYZ on August 07, 2006, 02:07:00 PM
After a week of no information or photos of Fidel, they finally found him......
  :rof:    :rof:    :rof:    :rof:    :rof:    :rof:    :rof:
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: FredTracie on August 07, 2006, 02:11:00 PM
Got me Too!!!   :D    :D ....ROTFLMAO!!!~!
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: debmich on August 07, 2006, 02:11:00 PM
After reading that article, my curiousity was piqued by his family, I did a search and found this, thought some others may find it interesting!
 The Miami Herald
 October 8, 2000
 Castro's Family
   (http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/fidel/alejandro-antonio.jpg) Alejando and Antonio Castro
   (http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/fidel/fidelito.jpg) Soto del Valle Fidel Castro
   (http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/fidel/alina.jpg)  Díaz-Balart Alina Fernández Revuelta
  Fidel's private life with his wife and sons is so secret
  that even the CIA is left to wonder
  There are no streets in Cuba named after President
  Fidel Castro, no statues or peso bills bearing the
  image of the ``maximum leader,'' no mention -- ever --
  in the official media of his wife of 30-plus years or their
  five sons.
  Most Cubans, in fact, know almost nothing about the
  personal life of one of the world's most private, even
  secretive rulers. Not the names of his wife and sons,
  not even the address of his home in Havana.
  Photographs of two of Castro's sons, a niece and a
  nephew-in-law that appear in today's Herald are,
  indeed, the first time their faces are published
  anywhere, slightly lifting the veil of secrecy that
  shrouds Castro's family.
  His wife, Dalia Soto del Valle, and their sons Angel,
  Antonio, Alejandro, Alexis and Alex, have never been
  identified in the island's media and only in a few
  foreign publications not subject to Cuban censorship.
  Except for brothers Raúl and Ramón and his oldest
  son, ``Fidelito,'' Castro's close relatives hold no
  publicly visible jobs, wield no political power, and are
  unlikely to play a role in the succession to the
  74-year-old ruler.
  While they live comfortably, compared to the grinding
  shortages faced by most Cubans, they are under
  strict orders to avoid ostentatious behavior and live
  austerely, far from the limelight, acquaintances say.
  ``They don't dress any better than anyone else,'' said
  Castro's daughter, Alina Fernández, now living in
  Spain. ``On the contrary, they are required to at least
  project an image of austerity for the rest of the
  Added exile author Norberto Fuentes: ``The most
  avaricious cabinet minister lives no better than the
  average Cuban in Miami. He has one car, not two. An
  air conditioner in the car? No air conditioner.''
  Unlike other Latin dictators, he promotes no cult of
  Most Latin American dictators have sought to glorify
  themselves. The Dominican Republic's Rafaél Trujillo
  renamed his nation's capital city and highest mountain
  after himself, and Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner put
  up huge posters of himself around Asunción streets.
  Yet even as Castro's bearded profile has become an
  icon for revolutionaries around the world after 41 years
  in power, inside Cuba his desire for privacy has
  generated an odd sort of reverse cult of personality.
  Few public images of El Comandante are visible
  around Cuba, and his Aug. 13 birthday is not a holiday
  even though it's always noted by the government's
  media monopoly.
  His regime instead promotes dead revolutionary
  heroes such as Ernesto ``Che'' Guevara and Camilo
  Cienfuegos on everything from statues to key chains
  and T-shirts sold to tourists.
  Though his power is unchallenged, and phrases from his lengthy speeches are
  often quickly adopted as national slogans, the Cuban media is strictly forbidden
  from reporting on Castro's personal life.
  ``His private side is a completely taboo subject,'' said Lissette Bustamante,
  formerly a top Cuban journalist who met several of Fidel and Raúl Castro's
  children before she defected in the early 1990s.
  Castro has said that his penchant for privacy largely stems from his security
  concerns, given the more than 600 assassination attempts he says the CIA and
  Cuban exiles have mounted against him since 1959.
  ``They want to know if some day I went to bathroom or not, details on how my
  prostate is doing, they even want x-rays,'' Castro told reporters during a Havana
  news conference in April.
  But he has also acknowledged having a general propensity for ``permanent
  conspiracy,'' and made a strong argument that national leaders should never mix
  their public and private lives.
  ``In this sense, I have reserved for myself a total freedom,'' Castro said in an
  interview for a documentary, Fidel, 40 Years of the Cuban Revolution and its
  Leader, by Estela Bravo, a U.S. filmmaker who lives part time in Havana.
  The film provided Cubans with rare glimpses of his personal life when it was
  shown by Cuban television, unannounced, on Jan. 1, the anniversary of Castro's
  revolution, and again at two film festivals in March.
  The 75-minute documentary notes that Cubans ``know very little about the
  personal life of Fidel,'' and discreetly adds: ``It is said that he has seven children
  and has been married for almost 30 years.''
  Its few images of a private Castro date from pre-revolution days, including his
  1948 marriage to Mirta Díaz-Balart, and their son, Fidel ``Fidelito'' Castro
  Díaz-Balart. They divorced two years later.
  ``The amount and quality of hard information on that subject is so scarce that it is
  unlike any other country in the world,'' said Brian Latell, the CIA's recently retired
  top analyst on Cuba and Castro.
  Castro's wife and their five sons have been briefly mentioned in books by Alina
  Fernández, the offspring of an affair with Natalia Revuelta in the early 1950s, and
  by Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer and Castro biographer Tad Szulc, as
  well as in two recent U.S. magazine stories.
  But nothing at all about them has ever been published or broadcast inside Cuba.
  Dalia Soto del Valle is a former schoolteacher from the south-central city of
  Trinidad who met Castro during the literacy campaigns of the 1960s, said
  Fuentes, a member of Cuba's inner circles who met her several times before he
  defected in 1994.
  Now in her late 50s, she is regarded as warm, but as austere as Castro himself,
  running his household affairs and almost never attending his public functions, said
  Fuentes, who now lives in Miami.
  Their sons range in age from Angel, about 25 and studying medicine, to Alex, a
  computer systems manager in his mid-30s. Antonio is studying to be an
  orthopedic surgeon, and Alejandro and Alexis are computer programmers.
  They use the surname Castro Soto del Valle, and their first names come from the
  nom de guerre that Castro adopted during the revolution in the 1950s -- Alejandro,
  in admiration of Alexander the Great's military feats.
  Almost nothing is known about a sixth Castro son, Jorge Angel Castro, identified
  by Alina Fernández as the child of a woman who died years ago. He is believed to
  be 51 years old and to have four children, including triplets. The middle name
  Angel may come from Castro's Spanish-born father, Angel Castro.
  All but Angel and Alejandro Castro Soto del Valle are said to be married and have
  children of their own, making Castro a grandfather many times over. Alejandro,
  known as a computer and softball nut who always dresses informally, is said to
  be the only one still living at home with Fidel and Dalia.
  Alina Fernández recalled the five brothers as ``sensible, intelligent kids.'' But she
  felt sorry for them, she added, ``because on the one side they are tightly watched
  by guards, and on the other Cubans have a great curiosity about them.''
  ``There is no yellow press in Cuba to report on their lives, but of course when
  people see a young guy with lots of bodyguards, they start guessing whose sons
  they are,'' she said in a telephone interview from Spain.
  The government takes care of their every basic need, Bustamante said, but some
  do not own their own cars and must call the family's central security office when
  they need rides around Havana.
  ``They have privileged positions but they don't seem to have many luxuries ...
  certainly not like the `juniors' in Mexico,'' said Latell, referring to the Mexican
  slang for rich kids.
  Added Fuentes: ``They live comfortably, only comfortably. In the eyes of other
  Cubans they may be living in luxury, but in Cuba eating three balanced meals a
  day is a luxury.''
  Most of Dalia's sons graduated from the Lenin High School in Havana, said
  Bustamante, a school reserved for Cuba's brightest and children of top
  government officials who require special security protection.
  The children of Castro and his brother, Armed Forces commander Raúl Castro,
  have specially tight security details under orders never to allow them to be
  photographed or approached by unknown persons, acquaintances said.
  The photographs that appear in color in today's Herald were taken by a Cuban
  acquaintance who said he managed to snap them during private social gatherings
  when the Castro offsprings' bodyguards were not around to stop him.
  He smuggled them out of Cuba when he defected during a trip abroad last year.
  The Miami Herald purchased the images and has offered them for re-sale to other
  So tight is the security around Castro's children that friends of ``Fidelito'' still
  sometimes call him José Raúl Fernández, the cover name he used when he
  studied nuclear physics in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
  Fidelito, nephew of Florida Republican Rep. Lincoln Díaz Balart, is the only
  offspring who has been regularly mentioned in the Cuban media, particularly when
  he served as executive secretary of the Cuban Atomic Energy Commission from
  1980 to 1992.
  He is belived to have divorced his Russian wife several years ago and remarried a
  Cuban. A U.S. citizen who met him recently said he is now working as a
  consultant for the Ministry of Basic Industries.
  Fidel and his wife live in western Havana near Raul
  Fidel Castro and wife Dalia live in a two-house complex in western Havana. The
  living room of the main house is described by visitors as furnished with simple
  wood and leather sofas and chairs and Cuban handicrafts.
  The only luxury visible to visitors, said Fuentes, is a big-screen television that
  Castro uses to satisfy his interest in foreign news reports and videos secretly
  recorded by Cuba's intelligence services.
  While the nature of Castro's relations with his sons is unknown, Alina Fernández
  and Bustamante both said Raúl Castro is much more the family man, holding
  regular Sunday dinners for his and Fidel's children at his home, known as La
  Rinconada, two blocks from Fidel's own house in western Havana.
  ``He has a much better sense of family than any of his brothers,'' said Fernández.
  It is Raúl, according to two friends of Mirta Díaz-Balart, now living in Spain, who
  arranges her occasional visits to Cuba to see Fidelito.
  Raúl and his wife of 40 years, Vilma Espín, a veteran of the revolution and
  longtime president of the Cuban Women's Federation, have three daughters and
  one son -- also never mentioned in the media.
  Son Alejandro was an army officer, Nilsa was studying at the University of
  Havana, Deborah was an engineer working at a government enterprise and Mariela
  studied child psychology and modern dance, said Bustamante, who knew the
  family well before her defection.
  Mariela is considered the rebel in the family, Bustamante added, a free spirit who
  performed topless in one late 1980s production and favored Soviet leader Mikhail
  Gorbachev's perestroika in the 1980s.
  Dancer Ruben Rodriguez, who lived with Mariela three years before he defected to
  Spain in 1991, told Bustamante during an interview that Raúl had once
  complained Mariela had ``brought perestroika into my home!''
  Mariela is now married to an Italian and has two children with him, plus a boy
  from a previous union with a Chilean, according to a former Raúl Castro assistant
  who defected in 1993 but stays in touch with current aides.
  The only politically powerful member of the Fidel or Raúl families is believed to be
  Deborah's husband, Luis Alberto Fernández, about 40, son of an army general
  and himself a lieutenant colonel in the armed forces.
  Fernández heads the umbrella agency that administers the Cuban military's
  multi-million dollar businesses, from scores of tourist hotels in Cuba to trade
  companies in Panama, Angola, South Africa, Geneva and Cyprus.
  ``He isn't just Raúl's son-in-law or the son of a general. Luis Alberto earned his
  position because he's smart and efficient, and he'll go far in the future,'' said the
  former Raúl Castro aide.
  Luis Alberto and Deborah have two children named Raúl and Vilma after her
  parents, according to the former Raúl aide and two other family acquaintances.
  The former aide and the acquaintances asked for anonymity out of fear that
  Cuban security agents would go after relatives still on the island in retaliation for
  exposing details of the families.
  The houses of Fidel and Raúl are large but simply appointed
  Fidel and Dalia's compound in western Havana is equipped with one outdoor
  tennis and basketball court. It is ringed with pine trees that block off outside
  views, and surrounded by electronic fences that detect intruders.
  All streets surrounding the compound are marked as one-way streets heading
  away from the house to deter sightseers, Bustamante said. Only official cars are
  allowed to drive the wrong way into the compound.
  An acquaintance who has visited both Fidel and Raúl's homes described them as
  very large by Cuban standards but relatively simply appointed with Cuban-made
  furniture, with Raúl's home ``a bit nicer than Fidel's.''
  The Castro brothers are known to have had several other houses around the
  island set aside for vacations or official visits to the provinces. But they handed
  over most of them for tourist lodgings after Soviet subsidies stopped arriving in
  1991 and Cuba plunged into an economic crisis.
  The elite live better, but are required to project equality
  Fuentes said the show of austerity by Castro and those near him is part of the
  hypocrisy of a system in which the elite live better than the average Cuban but are
  required to project an image of equality.
  ``You see the house of a top official all worn on the outside, badly in need of
  paint, the grass all a mess,'' he said. ``But inside he'll have two television sets, a
  VCR, a nice stereo, a new fridge.''
  But there are limits.
  ``Of course, anything the hijos de papi [sons of daddy] want they get -- even if no
  other Cuban ever sees this stuff. Computers, nice houses, vacations, you name
  it. But luxuries? With few exceptions, not really,'' said Fuentes.
  ``I think that when this [Castro's rule] ends, most people in Cuba will be outraged
  by the relative comforts of the leadership,'' he added, ``and most people in Miami
  will be surprised by their low level of life.''
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 07, 2006, 03:46:00 PM
Cuba's VP expects return of ailing Fidel Castro within weeks
 Monday, August 7, 2006; Posted: 9:05 a.m. EDT (13:05 GMT)
 HAVANA, Cuba (AP) -- Cuba's vice president and Venezuela's leader provided optimistic assessments of Fidel Castro's health, saying the Cuban president was recovering quickly from intestinal surgery and could be back at work within weeks.
 Castro himself has been out of sight since July 31, when his secretary went on state television to announce he had undergone surgery and was temporarily ceding power to his younger brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro.
 "In a few weeks he'll be recovered and he'll return to his duties," Vice President Carlos Lage said Sunday when asked by reporters when Castro would be back at work. Lage spoke in Bolivia, where he attended the Andean country's constitutional convention.
 Cubans were told most details of Castro's health would be kept "a state secret" to prevent the island's enemies from taking advantage of his condition. Indeed, officials have failed to say what precisely is ailing Castro or what surgical procedure he underwent.
 Lage had earlier shot down reports that Castro, who turns 80 next Sunday, had stomach cancer and reiterated Sunday that the Cuban leader was recovering well.
 "The operation that he underwent was successful and he is recovering favorably," Lage said. "Fidel's going to be around for another 80 years."
 Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Castro was out of bed and talking following his surgery.
 "How are you, Fidel?" Chavez said during his weekly TV and radio program, suggesting he believed the Cuban leader was watching. "We have reliable information of your quick and notable recuperation."
 "Fidel Castro, a hug for you, friend and comrade, and I know you are getting better," Chavez said.
 Talking by phone with Bolivian President Evo Morales later during the program, Chavez said that Castro was bouncing back quickly.
 "This morning I learned that he's very well, that he is already getting out of bed, he's talking more than he should -- because he talks a lot, you know. He has sent us greetings," Chavez said.
 Morales, a leftist elected in December as Bolivia's first Indian president, said he was glad to learn of Castro's recovery and that "what's left is for him to be incorporated into the battle of his country" again. Morales said Castro was like an "older brother."
 Before Castro fell ill, Morales had promised to travel to Havana for Castro's birthday and bring him a cake made from the flour of coca leaves. The Bolivian leader said his government would send a high-level mission to Havana in the coming days, according to his spokesman Alex Contreras.
 Malaysia's prime minister on Monday wished Castro a swift recovery and said he looks forward to seeing him at a summit in Havana next month.
 "I am pleased to hear your operation has been successful and that you are responding well to medical treatment," Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in a statement carried by Malaysia's national news agency, Bernama, from the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
 Abdullah said he hopes to meet with Castro during a meeting of leaders of mainly developing countries of the Nonaligned Movement that Cuba is hosting September 11 through 16.
 Malaysia has held the rotating chairmanship of the 116-member Nonaligned Movement since 2003, and is to hand over the reins to Cuba next month.
 From Managua, former Sandinista rebel commander Tomas Borge praised Castro's choice of Raul as "the most suitable person" for provisional president, Cuba's Prensa Latina news agency said.
 Borge, a Nicaraguan parliament deputy with the Sandinista Party, told Prensa Latina Castro once told him that his younger brother was the best organizer he knew. Raul's absence from the spotlight after being named interim president was "a demonstration of humility and of profound respect toward the leader of the revolution," Borge added.
 Former Nicaraguan President and Sandinista revolution leader Daniel Ortega arrived in Havana from Nicaragua late Saturday. "I am sure that we will soon have Fidel resuming his functions and leading his people," Ortega said.
 As get-well wishes poured in from leftists across the hemisphere, even Colombia's largest rebel group expressed its solidarity with the ailing Cuban leader. "We hope you'll recover in the shortest time possible," read a statement from the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
 In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday the United States wants to help Cubans prepare for democracy but is not contemplating an invasion of the island in the wake of Castro's illness.
 "The notion that somehow the United States is going to invade Cuba, because there are troubles in Cuba, is simply far-fetched," Rice told NBC television. "The United States wants to be a partner and a friend to the Cuban people as they move through this period of difficulty and as they move ahead. But what Cuba should not have is the replacement of one dictator by another."
 Cuban authorities have beefed up security by mobilizing citizen defense militias, increasing street patrols, and ordering decommissioned military officers to check in at posts daily.
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Bulldog on August 15, 2006, 04:33:00 AM
Castro makes TV appearance from bed:
 Tuesday, August 15, 2006; Posted: 12:37 a.m. EDT (04:37 GMT)
 HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cubans got their first glimpse Monday of Fidel Castro since he underwent surgery last week, with state-run television broadcasting video of the Cuban leader talking from his bed with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
 Chavez was on the island Sunday to help Castro celebrate his 80th birthday, the narrator of the program -- "Round Table" -- said.
 Both men were wearing fire-engine red shirts, with Castro appearing pale but speaking animatedly as Chavez joked with him and showed him photographs.
  Video clip & more (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/08/14/castro.cuba/index.html)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: bellagio on August 15, 2006, 04:40:00 AM
Thanks Bulldog.  That's the same clip that was shown on British TV apart from the fact that over here most of the conversation was obscured by the comments of the BBC's man in Havana.
 Here is the link to our video clip:
   Link to video clip of Fidel and Hugo Chavez (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4790143.stm)
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: Steve_YYZ on August 15, 2006, 09:02:00 AM
It was only a matter of time.....   :rof:    :rof:    :rof:  
  :rof:    :rof:
Title: Re: BREAKING NEWS - Fidel hands power to Raul
Post by: bellagio on August 15, 2006, 09:31:00 AM
Well that headline makes sad reading indeed!!!!!
 Good job it's not true, but it does go to show what can be done these days and that all we see and read is not necessarily the truth.