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Castro said to have had more than 10 surgeries

Cuban leader Fidel Castro may have undergone more than 10 operations for a serious intestinal illness last year, Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Tuesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Cuban leader Fidel Castro may have undergone more than 10 operations for a serious intestinal illness last year, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday.

Leftist Morales, a close ally of Castro who visited Havana two weeks ago, said Castro spends most of his time studying environmental issues and has recovered well from the health crisis that led him to hand over power temporarily to his younger brother, Raul, 11 months ago.

"Fidel is studying, analyzing, going over information. He's no longer resting or recovering. I think it's more like full-time work," Morales said in a radio interview.

"I believe he had to have many operations, perhaps more than 10 operations, but I reckon he's very well," he added.

Castro, 80, has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July last year, and officials on the communist-ruled island have not said how many operations he has had or given details of his illness.

But Castro has returned to public life since March by writing occasional articles in the state-run media. In one such piece in May, Castro wrote that he had undergone several operations and spent months being fed intravenously.

Looking healthier
In a taped television interview shown earlier this month, Castro looked healthier than he has done in previous video and photos.

Morales said environmental issues had become Castro's biggest concern.

"He's not as thin as he was. He's writing, going over his notes. This time, I noticed he was more concerned about the environment than with issues of health and education," said Morales, who has brought Bolivia into a leftist alliance forged by Castro and Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez.