Monday, September 4, 2006
The Cuban press have released yet another video showing that their Comandante Fidel Cstro is well on the mend, and not inches away from death, as others would like to assume. The seven minute clip showed a smiling Castro hugging Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who met with him in his hospital room to discuss international affairs. Castro, in red pajamas, appeared much stronger than the Aug 13 video released shortly after his operation to stop intestinal bleeding. this is the second visit that Chavez has paid to the ailing leader since the operation. The Venezuelan President made this stop in Cuba after visiting China, Syria and Angola, where he signed cooperation deals he says are aimed at countering U.S. influence. Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, has helped Cuba resist a U.S. embargo by supplying Castro with 90,000 barrels of petroleum per day and by contracting thousands of Cuban doctors and other professionals to work in Venezuela. Castro has repeatedly said he sees Chavez as the heir to his revolutionary legacy in the region.
Meanwhile, in the first Ministerial appointment to take place since Castro ceded power to his brother Raul Castro one month ago, a new Communications Chief has been named in Cuba.
74 year old Ramiro Valdez will replace Ignacio Gonzalez Plana as Minister for Computers and Communications. According to an official statement, the politburo of the Cuban Communist Party recommended the appointment which was approved by the 31-member Council of State led by Raul Castro. This is the first cabinet change in Cuba that the Defence Minister 75, has made since he assumed his role as the constitutionally designated successor to Cuba's presidency on July 31st this year, shortly before Fidel Castro went into hospital for intestinal surgery.
Fidel Castro stitches are out and despite losing 18 kilogrammes (41 pounds) from intestinal surgery, the "most critical moment" of his health crisis has passed.