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Castro Says He's in Stable Condition, Good Spirits Following Surgery


Cuban President Fidel Castro says his health is stable and that he is in good spirits following surgery.

Mr. Castro made the comments Tuesday in a statement read on Cuban television. The Cuban leader also said he feels perfectly fine.

On Monday, the Cuban leader temporarily handed power to his younger brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro, due to the surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding caused by stress.

It was not known where the surgery took place.

Earlier, the Bush administration said it is carefully monitoring the situation in Cuba. This is the first time in Fidel Castro's 47 years as Cuban leader that he is known to have relinquished power.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said U.S. officials do not know the condition of Mr. Castro's health because Cuba is a closed society.

But, Snow said U.S. officials do not believe the 79-year-old Cuban leader is dead. He also said there will be no change in policy toward Cuba now that Raul Castro holds power, at least temporarily.

At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack said it is premature to discuss what the U.S. might do in the event that Raul Castro assumes permanent control of Cuba's government. McCormack said it is clear Cubans want democracy to follow the communist era.

On Tuesday, Cuban National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcon told the country's Prensa Latina news agency that Fidel Castro's final moment is "very far away."

Meanwhile, Cuban exiles in Miami, Florida are still celebrating the news of Mr. Castro's illness. Many have taken to the streets of Calle Ocho in the city's Little Havana neighborhood, honking car horns, blaring music from their vehicles and waving Cuban flags.

Mr. Castro's health was also a major topic of discussion on Spanish-language radio stations in Miami.

Some information for this report provided by AP.