IMAGE: Doctor who treats Fidel Castro.
Bernat Armangue  /  AP
Spanish surgeon Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido answers questions during a press conference at Madrid's Gregorio Maranon Hospital, on Tuesday. Sabrido, who is helping treat Fidel Castro, said that the Cuban leader does not have cancer and is recovering slowly from a serious operation.
updated 12/26/2006 10:05:12 AM ET 2006-12-26T15:05:12

Cuban President Fidel Castro does not have cancer, a Spanish doctor who has just examined him said on Tuesday.

Castro, 80, has not appeared in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July, but has since released little information on his condition. Castro placed his younger brother, Raul, in charge of the government.

Castro’s health problem is with his digestive system but he does not have cancer, Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido told Reuters after a news conference in Madrid.

“He hasn’t got cancer” said Garcia Sabrido at Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon Hospital, where he is chief surgeon.

‘Intellectual activity intact’
Garcia Sabrido flew to Havana last Thursday to see the Cuban leader and give his opinion on how his treatment was progressing.

Castro’s disappearance from the public eye after emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding in July sparked frenzied speculation about his state of health. U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte told the Washington Post on Dec. 15 that Castro was likely to die within months.

But Garcia Sabrido said Castro did not need more surgery.

“He has his intellectual activity intact, I’d say fantastic given the recovery from the previous surgery,” he said.

Castro is in great spirits and “wants to return to work every day,” he said.

Raul Castro in charge
Defense Minister Raul Castro, 75, took over the government temporarily on July 31 when his more famous brother’s operation to relinquish power for the first time since Cuba’s 1959 revolution.

Video images released on Oct. 28 showed the once-towering revolutionary diminished to a frail and shuffling old man.

U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., one of the leaders of a delegation that visited Cuba this month, said he had concluded from discussions with officials there that if Castro did resume a political role, it would probably be setting broad policy, not governing on a day-to-day basis.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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