Skip to comments.Surgeons Fought For Hours To Save Castro's Life
Posted on 08/05/2006 6:13:40 PM PDT by blam
Surgeons fought for hours to save Castro's life
By Phil Hart in Havana
Doctors at the exclusive Cimeq hospital in western Havana are accustomed to handling the delicate health problems of Cuba's communist elite.
It was here last weekend, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt, that they battled for several hours to save the life of the regime's most important patient, Fidel Castro. Unable to stem intestinal bleeding with drugs, the country's top surgeons performed an emergency operation on the veteran leader.
To all but a handful of trusted doctors and his closest lieutenants, President Castro's medical condition has been shrouded in mystery, described as a "state secret" in words attributed to the dictator until, on Friday, the health minister, José Ramón Balaguer, said he was recovering and "will be back with us soon".
The 79-year-old president is understood to have undergone surgery on Saturday at Cimeq before being wheeled back from the operating theatre to the floor reserved for him and his 75-year-old brother, Raúl. The facility is in the district of Siboney, home to Cuba's most prestigious scientific research complex and near Gen Castro's official residence in a tightly guarded military zone.
The Cuban leader received treatment on a par with the best in the world. But most Cubans, reliant on the supposedly universal health system, have to pay for even basic drugs such as aspirin and the equivalent of £30 for "extras" such as X-rays.
Gen Castro's handover of power to Raúl, albeit temporary, was disclosed to a stunned nation two nights later as they gathered around flickering television sets. In Washington and Miami, Gen Castro's long-time foes urged the Cuban people to push for democratic change. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said in a broadcast beamed to the island: "Much is changing there We will stand with you to secure your rights."
Yet if the regime's "Berlin Wall moment" was approaching, it was hard to discern as the cowed populace instead focused on the daily struggle to survive. Indeed, two leading dissidents, Miriam Leiva and Oscar Espinosa Chepe, urged calm rather than street protests in an interview.
Outside their apartment in Havana's Playa district, the eyes of an old woman who was brushing the path bore into the visitors knocking at her neighbours' door.
"Don't worry about her," said Mrs Leiva, in a room piled high with books and letters. "Sometimes we catch her with her ear almost to the window. You learn to ignore it."
Mrs Leiva, an independent journalist, and her husband, Mr Espinosa, the leading anti-regime economist and a former political prisoner, are accustomed to having their lives monitored by informers. There is even a secret police listening post on the floor above their one-bedroom flat.
Last week, they said, surveillance by plainclothes agents was intensified as the island underwent its greatest political upheaval in 47 years. Despite the jubilant scenes among exiles in Miami's Little Havana, dissidents in Cuba, a small and loose-knit bunch, remained cautious.
"The opposition has no fear as we have been jailed and threatened and bullied already. But the Cuban people are too scared and intimidated to take to the streets," said Mr Espinosa, 65. "People are scared that there may be bloodshed. Castro has successfully built up their fears for the future."
His 59-year-old wife added: "The repression here is just too strong. They can party in Miami but there's nothing for us here to celebrate. All we can do is speak out."
The couple are disillusioned former Castro supporters who once served as diplomats in eastern Europe. Mr Espinosa was jailed for 25 years in 2003: his counter-revolutionary crime was to highlight the regime's economically disastrous policies. He was temporarily freed in late 2004 as his health failed but his release papers state that he will be put back behind bars if his health improves.
"The revolution died long ago. Fidel was a national hero and we dreamed of a new Cuba but the state just took over the land and the factories and destroyed the economy," he said. Quoting official figures, he said the average monthly salary was just £11 and most pensioners receive just £4.40 a month.
Last week it became clear that Cuba was facing a vacuum not of power - the country remained under tight communist control and reservists were called up - but of leadership, as the new ruling clique made no statement. Raúl Castro's silence created tension, even as the media insisted he was "firmly at the helm".
Across Havana, banners fluttering from crumbling buildings bear the message, "Viva Fidel - 80 More". It is Gen Castro's 80th birthday next Sunday but, for now, Cubans are united in waiting to see what happens next.
"We can't change things," said a young man clutching a bottle of rum at a festival in Old Havana, "so we might as well drink. We've been waiting for decades: we can wait a little longer."
"He's dead, Jim."
One of my favorite fantasies. I'm Superman. I'd round up all the dictators (and a few wannabes, mostly Dems in this country) and drop them in Leavenworth, and distinctly tell the countries where I took them from that if there is ANY retaliation, even verbal criticism, from that country, their next set of leaders is next to go to Leavenworth. I'd stack those SOB's seven deep if I had to. Castro first.
Surgeons Fought For Hours To Save Castro's Life
Those surgeons could have been heroes.
I think the time would be right to para-drop several thousand cartons of of rifles and ammo to the Cuban citizenry.
Works for me.
"Treatment on par with the best in the world" of small carribean islands. What a crock of crap.
"Why?"They were probably under the gun.Literally.
He's "stable"...There's no more "stable" condition than dead....
Weekend at Bernie's?
Saving Castro's life was saving their lives as well.
Bye Bye Fidel
Doesn't that say it all?
Gets my nomination for most ironic phrase of the week!
Weekend at Fidel's and for our islamofascist friends Weekend infidels.
Yeah, great movie! I can just see them trying that...
Raul was probably standing there with a pistola aimed at their heads. Like those Iraqi soccer player with Usay, failure was not an option.
"Those surgeons could have been heroes."
Just like doctors here, the operation was a success but the patient died!
If he is dead will they give him the Evita treatment?
One minute is too much to save this killer's life..
I'd like to think the Cubans are ready to break out and take over their destiny, but I suspect the secret police/military/commy commissars have them so intimidated that it will take outside action to affect a change there. Exiles in Florida, perhaps?
The surgeons were given a simple statement.
If he dies, you die.
> Your tagline looks like ASCI goatse.
I suspect that's exactly what it's meant to be. I wouldn't think that many folks on FR would be aware of that particular internet... ummm-mm... classic, but I guess ya never know... Wikipedia entry on goatse - content warning.
I do think it's an appropriate, if crude, way to address Islamofascist terrorists, and Fidel as well.
Oh, and its "ASCII", two 'I's.
and you have to buy your own medicine and wash your own sheets and everything.
The DUmmies will put their fingers in their ears and call this propaganda
I still think he be dead.
If he's not dead, then he's non-functional. Comatose, maybe?
Hey Jimmy Carter, Your good friend Fidel needs you. Jimmy go. You out there Jimmy?? A commie needs your love and care. Jimmy?
Typo. And to anyone reading this and thinking maybe they should look into what goatse is, please DON'T. You are much better off never knowing. TRUST me.
Just as ABCNBCSeeBS would do if, say, Clinton had died doing Monica.
This is a particularly good and honest article. Not published in the USA, of course.
When we were in Cuba in '99, we traveled to the eastern city of Pinar del Rio on an "official" tour bus. Once there, friend and I walked away from the group. A block from the official stop, all buildings lacked paint, though those next to the official stop were brightly painted. Then a doddering little old man came up and showed us his asthma inhaler. "Look! Fidel gave this to me free!" There were armed soldiers watching him as he did his bit for Castro and tried to divert our attention from the wreckage of his town and his life. Thus, Cuban health care.
You'd better believe that Castro's doctors had guns to their heads while they operated. That's how Cuba works.
And I think he's still dead.
Castros Intestinal Problem
Doctors operating on the aging Cuban dictator were startled to discover a large mass of petrified excrement was the cause of his intestinal problems. Apparently, Fidel hasnt excreted normally in quite some time, said Hermano Carnicero, one of the attending surgeons. We cant understand how he could have survived with such a condition.
Professor Manuel Transmisión at the University of Mexico City has a theory that may explain how Castro could have survived such a condition for so long. Castro used to discharge excrement by means of lengthy speeches, said Transmisión. Much of what he said could be termed pure crap. Apparently, this served as an alternate means of eliminating bodily waste. In recent years, however, his speeches have been getting shorter. This has allowed the waste to accumulate in his body. The current blockage is the inevitable result.
People could not comprehend how or why Castro would give nine-hour speeches, said Transmisión. Now we can see the therapeutic value these speeches had for the man. It would also explain his legendary bad-breath.
Castro, who turns 80 on August 13, said in a statement read on Cuban television that he would be out for some weeks following an operation to stem intestinal bloating. He spoke of an acute intestinal distress with sustained gas pains, which forced me to undergo delicate surgery. He said he would be taking several weeks rest.
In the interim, absolute power has been entrusted in Fidels brother Raul who has pledge to keep the Cuban people free from material temptations and the threat of capitalistic inroads during Fidels recuperation. Raul also warned everyone do not assume that Fidels absence will present an opportunity for counterrevolutionary activities. All opposition to the revolution my brother has made will continue to be ruthlessly crushed as long as I am in charge.
Sarcasm I am assuming.
Too late. What was I thinking?
That is so-o-o disgusting and something I NEVER needed to know.
I was hoping.
I looked before I read your post.
I resolve to be more careful in the future.
After I am well.
He's dead - and dollars to donuts, so is Raul. Why isn't the designated heir speaking? Why is the military filling the streets? Can we all say "coup," boys and girls?
Aren't the Bay of Pigs plans still somewhere, on microfiche?...
Those people HAVE to play act for tourists, its called a Potemkin Village
I truly am sorry. I should have put the disclaimer in the first post. No one should have to see that.