Castro may emerge for May Day


Summary

As Cubans readied for the festivities, there was no official word as to whether the president would take the opportunity to re-enter public life since undergoing major surgery in July.

During his 48 years in power, the communist leader had only stayed away from the traditional May Day celebrations twice, both times because he was out of the country.

Castro ally President Evo Morales of Bolivia had no doubt the veteran revolutionary would use the opportunity to formally resume his functions as head of state he had temporarily handed over to his brother Raul after undergoing surgery in late July.

"I am certain that on May 1, comrade Fidel will resume his role leading Cuba and Latin America," Mr Morales said.

Cuban authorities have repeatedly said Mr Castro, 80, was recovering well, but have not said whether he would appear at celebrations, or when he might resume the presidency.

"If it is possible, he'll be there, and if it is not, he won't," Economy Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said over the weekend.

Cuba's influential parliamentary president Ricardo Alarcon played down the likelihood that Mr Castro would attend the celebrations.

"Being well is one thing, but watching a parade for two hours…I'd rather see him on television," Mr Alarcon said.

While he has not made any live public appearance since his operation, Mr Castro has been seen on television, usually with visiting dignitaries, on several occasions.

Contrary to earlier speculation, he missed a weekend summit in Caracas of his closest allies, Venezuela and Bolivia, as well as Nicaragua.

But the Cuban leader appears to have become increasingly active over the past weeks.

Three lengthy articles signed by Mr Castro have appeared in official media, and the president reportedly held hour-long talks on Friday with a top Chinese official.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has regularly met with Mr Castro since the operation, said the Cuban leader was doing very well, and already had informally resumed a large part of his government functions.


As Cubans readied for the festivities, there was no official word as to whether the president would take the opportunity to re-enter public life since undergoing major surgery in July.

During his 48 years in power, the communist leader had only stayed away from the traditional May Day celebrations twice, both times because he was out of the country.

Castro ally President Evo Morales of Bolivia had no doubt the veteran revolutionary would use the opportunity to formally resume his functions as head of state he had temporarily handed over to his brother Raul after undergoing surgery in late July.

"I am certain that on May 1, comrade Fidel will resume his role leading Cuba and Latin America," Mr Morales said.

Cuban authorities have repeatedly said Mr Castro, 80, was recovering well, but have not said whether he would appear at celebrations, or when he might resume the presidency.

"If it is possible, he'll be there, and if it is not, he won't," Economy Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said over the weekend.

Cuba's influential parliamentary president Ricardo Alarcon played down the likelihood that Mr Castro would attend the celebrations.

"Being well is one thing, but watching a parade for two hours…I'd rather see him on television," Mr Alarcon said.

While he has not made any live public appearance since his operation, Mr Castro has been seen on television, usually with visiting dignitaries, on several occasions.

Contrary to earlier speculation, he missed a weekend summit in Caracas of his closest allies, Venezuela and Bolivia, as well as Nicaragua.

But the Cuban leader appears to have become increasingly active over the past weeks.

Three lengthy articles signed by Mr Castro have appeared in official media, and the president reportedly held hour-long talks on Friday with a top Chinese official.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has regularly met with Mr Castro since the operation, said the Cuban leader was doing very well, and already had informally resumed a large part of his government functions.