News / Americas

Castro Tones Down Positive Words on Chavez Health

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaks to reporters at a polling station in Havana, February 3, 2013.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaks to reporters at a polling station in Havana, February 3, 2013.
Reuters
More than a week after former leader Fidel Castro was quoted in Cuban media as saying Venezuela's cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez was "much better,'' the Communist Party newspaper published a different, toned down version of his comments on Tuesday.
    
The transcript in Granma, said to have been "reviewed and updated'' by Castro, left out the more positive assessments of Chavez' condition, but did say he was recovering.
    
Castro, who spoke with reporters when he went to vote in Cuba's National Assembly election, was quoted in Feb. 4 news accounts as telling reporters he got daily reports on Chavez and that he was doing "much better, recovering'' two months after undergoing a six-hour operation in Havana.

"It has been a tough fight but he is improving,'' Castro said. `"We have to cure him. Chavez is very important for his country and for Latin America.''
    
In the official version, published Tuesday, a reporter asked Castro if he had heard anything about the condition of Chavez.

"Yes, every day. He is recovering, according to the last medical report I received today, Feb. 3, at midday,'' Castro replied.

"Improving?'' the reporter asked.

"Yes, although they have been difficult and hard days. Our doctors devote themselves to this task, this is what I am able to tell you since the information is a right that belongs to the [Venezuelan] government and his family members,'' Castro said.
    
There was no explanation for the changes accompanying the transcript, nor was it known why it was published nine days after the original conversation.

The transcript took up five pages of the eight-page newspaper, of which the part about Chavez was just four paragraphs, with the rest showing the 86-year-old Castro expounding on a variety of topics.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference at Miraflores palace in Caracas, October 9, 2012.Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference at Miraflores palace in Caracas, October 9, 2012.
x
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference at Miraflores palace in Caracas, October 9, 2012.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference at Miraflores palace in Caracas, October 9, 2012.
Chavez, 58, has been behind closed doors in a Havana hospital since undergoing his fourth surgery for cancer on December 11. His cancer, which was diagnosed during a June 2011 visit to the Cuban capital, has been described only as being in the pelvic region.

The gregarious socialist has not been seen or heard publicly since the operation, but visiting Venezuelan officials have said he is getting better and in control of the government.

Chavez is Cuba's top ally and benefactor and has said Fidel Castro is his mentor. He provides Cuba with most of its oil.

The former paratrooper was elected in October to another term as president, but has not yet officially taken office.

Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution and led Cuba for 49 years before his own health problems forced him to resign the presidency five years ago.
    
Younger brother Raul Castro, 81, succeeded him as Cuba's leader.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexico Captures Wanted Drug Kingpin Hector Beltran Leyva

Beltran Leyva is one of four brothers who allegedly headed a vicious Mexican drug cartel after it split with the Sinaloa cartel
More

Mother Says Former US Marine Needs Treatment, Not Mexican Prison

Jill Tahmooressi said son Andrew, 26, has been threatened by prison guards with rape, torture and execution since his arrest in March
More

Rio 2016 Olympics Progress Impressive, Says IOC in Change of Tone

Assessment, in stark contrast to ‘worst’ ever remark made by one committee member, comes after latest site inspection
More

Mexican Soldiers Face Murder Charges in 22 Deaths

Three soldiers charged with homicide in death of 22 suspected drug gang members who prosecutors allege were executed
More

Poll: Record Number of Mexicans Crime Victims in 2013

While government data shows murder rate has fallen in past 2 years, crimes such as kidnapping and extortion, which affect wider swath of the population, rise
More

OAS Asks Members to Take In Guantanamo Detainees

Organization of American States issues appeal for member countries to take in detainees from US military prison
More