- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 26, 2006

2:28 p.m.

MADRID — The Spanish surgeon treating Fidel Castro today said the ailing Cuban leader does not have cancer and is recovering “slowly but progressively” from a serious operation.

Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido flew to Havana Thursday to see the Cuban leader and determine how his treatment was progressing. At a press conference, the surgeon refused to clarify the ailment from which Mr. Castro is suffering, which Cuba has classified as a state secret.

Mr. Castro, 80, has not appeared in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July and has since released little information on his condition. Mr. Castro placed his younger brother, Raul, in charge of the government.

“He hasn’t got cancer,” Dr. Garcia Sabrido said at Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon Hospital, where he is chief surgeon.

“It is not planned that he will undergo another operation for the moment,” he said. “His condition is stable. He is recovering slowly but progressively.”

Dr. Garcia Sabrido was referring to the intestinal surgery Mr. Castro underwent this summer.

Mr. Castro is in great spirits and “wants to return to work every day,” he said.

Spanish authorities yesterday confirmed that Dr. Garcia Sabrido had traveled to Cuba’s capital with advanced medical equipment to determine whether Mr. Castro needed additional surgery.

Cuban authorities deny Mr. Castro suffers from terminal cancer but nonetheless have stopped insisting that Mr. Castro will return to power.

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