Cuba opens assembly without Fidel

Dec. 22, 2006 at 8:24 PM

HAVANA, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro did not attend lawmakers' end-of-the-year National Assembly, marking only the second time he was not present in 30 years.

Following a moment of silence in Castro's honor, National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon said the "Cuban revolution will continue representing an extraordinary example of of solidarity to the world."

The 80-year-old Castro fell ill in late July and appointed his brother Raul as interim leader.

Though Cuban officials insist Fidel will return to power they have repeatedly declined to speculate when that might be.

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