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Cuban Officials Insist Castro Recovering Well from Surgery


Cuban officials are assuring the world that President Fidel Castro is recovering from surgery, amid speculation that his health is poor.

The head of Cuba's National Assembly said in an interview broadcast on Saturday that Mr. Castro is recovering well from a procedure on Monday to stop intestinal bleeding.

Cuba's minister of health said in an interview Friday that Mr. Castro is recovering satisfactorily and will be back in power soon.

The president's brother, Raul Castro, temporarily assumed presidential duties this week. He has not been seen in public since the handover was announced.

President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called this week for Cubans to work for democratic change. In a message broadcast Friday on the U.S.-backed Radio and TV Marti, Rice also encouraged Havana to release its imprisoned dissidents.

A Brazilian newspaper printed a story Saturday that said Cuban authorities have told members of Brazil's government that Mr. Castro has a tumor in his abdomen.

Cuban exiles in the United States are pushing for political change on the island, and some celebrated news of Mr. Castro's ill health. Mr. Castro's sister calls such celebrations unseemly. She lives in Miami, Florida and has been estranged from her brother for many years.

Havana has expressed fear that the United States may try to invade Cuba while Mr. Castro is ill. A White House spokesman called such an idea "absurd."

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