[Marxism] Eldest brother reports Castro is doing better after surgery

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 20 04:31:21 MDT 2006


Eldest brother reports Castro is doing better after surgery

By Anita Snow 
The Associated Press

August 20, 2006

HAVANA · Ramón Castro, the older brother of leader Fidel Castro, said
Saturday his more famous sibling is steadily improving after
intestinal surgery that has left their younger brother Raúl
temporarily in charge of the country.

"He's much better," Ramón Castro said of Fidel. "He works savagely
and that has a cost."

Ramón Castro, who turns 82 in October, is a lifelong farmer who has
stayed out of national politics.

He indicated that he had not yet read his brother Raúl's interview
with the Communist Party newspaper Granma, which was published Friday
and constituted his first public comments since assuming provisional
power on July 31.

The eldest Castro brother, who bears a striking resemblance to
80-year-old Fidel with his Romanesque profile and white beard, spoke
at the international airport awaiting the arrival of Florida
cattleman John Parke Wright IV, with whom he has formed a strong
friendship during the American's frequent visits to the island.

The specifics of Castro's ailment and the nature of the surgery he
underwent have been treated as a state secret.

The leader blamed his heavy work and travel schedule for causing
sustained intestinal bleeding, which prompted the need for emergency

Ramón Castro warmly embraced Wright, 56, after he stepped off the
charter flight from Miami.

Wright, a Tampa native who now lives in Naples, gave the elder Castro
brother a new tan Stetson felt hat as a gift from Florida cattlemen.
Castro gave Wright some Cuban cigars.

"I'm here to see my great friend Ramón. There's no blockade on
friendship," said Wright, using the term Cuba's communist government
uses to refer to the long-standing U.S. trade sanctions against the

Castro told Wright that he, and many others on the island, look
forward to his visits. He also noted that Wright is a regular
churchgoer and said: "You should pray for the good health of my

"A lot of people have been praying for your brother's health," Wright
told him.

Wright, who opposes U.S. sanctions against the island, helped broker
some of the first sales of American cattle to communist Cuba under a
U.S. law passed in 2000 that created a loophole in the embargo and
permits such transactions on a cash basis. His firm, J.P. Wright &
Co. Inc., is based in Naples.

On his current 10-day trip, Wright plans to meet with representatives
of Cuba's food import agency to discuss possible future sales, as
well as shipping arrangements for future agricultural transactions.

He also hopes to spend a lot of time with Ramón Castro, inspecting
cattle and maybe even riding horses together.

Copyright © 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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