The lack of news about the health condition of Cuban president Fidel Castro who underwent serious surgery last July, Cubans are anxiously waiting for their leader's traditional New Year's message when the island celebrates the 48th anniversary of the revolution, according to press reports from Havana.
Castro has been publicly absent from several relevant events for the regime: at the end of November, the military parade of December 2 and the full session of Parliament last December 22. Attention is now concentrated on next January first when Cuba celebrates its grand national festivity, the revolution anniversary which is also dedicated to the ailing 80 year old dictator. According to political analysts next December 31 or New Year the regime must make some public announcement, read a message or show the ageing leader recovering from last July's emergency intestinal surgery. Only five brief videos of him in hospital, a few minutes' long or foreign dignitaries visiting Castro have been aired publicly plus some messages published in the official press allegedly attributed to Fidel. So far Havana officials and the local press have not said a word about the report given on Tuesday in Madrid by Spanish surgeon, Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, who was specially invited to Cuba over the weekend to check on Fidel's health and post surgery evolution. Dr Garcia Sabrido who is a pancreas specialist said on Tuesday during the press conference in Madrid that the ailing Cuban leader does not have cancer and is recovering "slowly but progressively" from a serious operation. However the surgeon refused to clarify what ailment Castro is suffering from, which Cuba has classified as a state secret. "He hasn't got cancer," 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". Castro is in great spirits and "wants to return to work every day," he said. Spanish authorities confirmed that Garcia Sabrido had traveled to Cuba's capital with advanced medical equipment to determine if Castro needed additional surgery. Cuban authorities deny Castro suffers from terminal cancer as U.S. intelligence officials have said, but have nonetheless stopped insisting Castro will return to power. The Cuban leader underwent emergency surgery last July and has since placed his younger brother, Raul, in charge of the government. The last reference to Castro's health was a brief reference from Raul during the recent Congressional session who said "Fidel is progressing in his recovery". However reports from high ranking intelligence officers in Washington, among them CIA chief John Negroponte insist Castro is suffering from terminal cancer. But State Department spokesperson Gonzalo Gallegos admitted that "our capacity to determine Castro's health condition is minimal". This weekend a big fair and festivity has been planned in Havana's huge Revolution Square with concerts, dances, shows, plays, ballet events to celebrate Castro's march into the Cuban capital 48 years ago.