- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

HAVANA (Agence France-Presse) — Convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro disclosed in an article released yesterday that he had undergone several operations, some of which were initially unsuccessful.

Mr. Castro, 80, had been known to have had gastrointestinal surgery in July, forcing him to hand power temporarily to his brother Raul, but the communist leader now says he went under the knife more than once.

“It was not just one operation, but several,” said the article, distributed ahead of publication in today’s newspapers. “Initially, there was no success, and that resulted in the prolonged period of recovery.”

According to the article, the 11th in the past two months, Mr. Castro has stabilized his weight at 176 pounds and can now take any medication orally.

“During several months, I received an important part of my food through the veins and catheters,” he wrote.

“No danger is larger than those related to aging,” he said, adding that he “abused” his health “during the uncertain times during which I lived.”

During his recovery, Mr. Castro has appeared in photographs and video recordings, the most recent of which was released Jan. 30.

A video showing him meeting with visiting Chinese officials was not broadcast on the island. In images from the April footage, the Cuban leader, dressed in a track suit, appeared to have returned to some of his work and seemed to have gained some weight.

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