The Florida Keys
Fidel Castro Gravely Ill
Two undisclosed sources working in a Madrid hospital where Spainish surgeon Jose Luis Garcia Sobrido practises told a newspaper reporter for El Pais, Fidel Castro is gravely ill. Doctor Sobrido flew to Cuba in December of 2006. Per Madrid’s El Pais sources, Dr. Sobrido performed a third surgery on the aging dictator. Cuban diplomats in Madrid deny the claims.
Per the report, at least three surgeries have been performed on Castro. Castro had suffered a bowel leak in July requiring the removal of a portion of his lower bowel. The original surgery was unsuccessful. A new leak of fecal matter in Castro’s abdominal cavity started a new infection requiring more of his colon to be removed.
In this latest surgery a South Korean made bowel prosthesis was installed to reconnect Castro’s colon to his rectum. No mention was made of the success of the third surgery. The threat to Cuba’s president for life is the infection associated with the bowel leakage. Given Fidel Castro’s advanced age of 80 years, prospects of his recovery are estimated at 20 percent. Even should Castro survive, an extensive recuperation period will be required which may effectively end Castro’s 47-year Cuban presidency.
Any mention of Castro’s health spawns rumors in South Florida’s Cuban community. With Cuban official releasing very little information, it is difficult to verify the accuracy of the El Pais story. Since Fidel Castro’s brother Raul is still interim president of Cuba following Castro’s initial surgery in July, confidence is high in the local Cuban community that the report is true.
The local Cuban population does not feel that Raul Castro is capable of maintaining control of Cuban should Fidel die. The island of Cuba is facing a dramatic political change if that proves to be the case.
To say that Castro’s passing with greatly impact South Florida is a gross understatement. Ex-patriot Cubans are ready to first celebrate then plan a return to their island home. Should Raul lose control of Cuba following the death of Castro, thousand of Cuban ex-patriots are poised to return and rebuild their Cuban lives.
With Castro’s passing, the United State’s Cuban political policy that was based solely on Fidel Castro and not the people of Cuba will change. A change in the current Cuban policy to allow American tourism will have a huge positive impact on the Cuban economy. Many American corporations with Cuban roots are planning a return to Cuba in some measure that will spur the Cuban economy.
Fidel Castro is the last cold war era leader still alive. His death will bring to a close that chapter of Cuban-American history.
Sources: Assosiate Press and Telemundo