A renowned Spanish surgeon has been rushed to Cuba to try to stop a steady deterioration in Fidel Castro’s health, a Spanish newspaper reported on Sunday.
Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, an intestinal specialist, traveled to the Caribbean island on Thursday on an aircraft chartered by the Cuban government, according to Spain’s left-leaning El Periodico de Catalunya.
Garcia Sabrido was due to carry out tests on Castro to see if he needs another operation after undergoing emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding in July, the newspaper said, citing hospital sources.
The doctor’s plane was carrying advanced medical equipment not available in Cuba, the newspaper reported.
Officials at Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon hospital, where Garcia Sabrido is head of surgery, declined to comment, as did the Cuban embassy in Madrid.
Garcia Sabrido was among doctors who presented their work at a surgery conference in Havana last month, according to the conference’s Web site.
Cuban officials say Castro is not dying and will return to public life. But he has skipped recent public appearances including his 80th birthday celebration, and appeared to be frail and walking with difficulty in video images released in October, fanning speculation that he is too ill to govern.
U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said in an interview with the Washington Post published on Dec. 15 that Castro was near death and had “months, not years” to live.
U.S. congressman William Delahunt, one of the leaders of a delegation that visited Cuba around the same time, 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.