Castro talks about his medical crisis

Aug. 31, 2010 at 3:27 PM
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HAVANA, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says he "came to be dead" during his health crisis four years ago and hoped "for the world to stop."

"Several times I asked myself if (doctors) were going to let me live in those conditions or if they'd let me die,'' he told Mexico's La Jornada newspaper in an interview published Monday.

Castro underwent emergency intestinal surgery with many complications in 2006, and is still so frail that he can walk unaided for only short distances, Miami's El Nuevo Herald said.

"I came to be dead,'' he said, without clarifying whether doctors considered him clinically dead. "I didn't know how long that torment would last and the only thing I hoped for was for the world to stop.''

He did not identify his illness -- Cuba considers it a state secret -- though media reports say it was diverticulitis, an inflammation in the intestines.

The interview was Castro's first with a foreign newspaper since he turned over official power his Cuba to his younger brother Raul.

Asked about the numerous public appearances he has made since July 7 after nearly four years out of the official spotlight, Castro said, "I still have things to do.''

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