#1Feb 14th, 2007
HAVANA (Reuters) - A senior Cuban official said on Tuesday that Fidel Castro is recovering "very well" but gave no indication when, or if, Cuba's ailing leader might return to public life.
"He is recovering, doing very well and keeping abreast of everything," National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcon said, adding to other recent statements that Castro is on the mend.
"He continues to make progress. We shouldn't be impatient," Alarcon told Reuters before a lunch meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the British Parliament, Sylvia Heal.
The 80-year-old revolutionary relinquished power provisionally to his brother Raul Castro on July 31 after emergency surgery. He has not appeared in public since.
Asked if Castro might reappear on Workers Day, May 1, a major holiday in communist Cuba, Alarcon replied: "That depends on how the recovery continues and what the doctors think."
Alarcon said Castro's absence was not a sign of declining health. "He could be perfectly well without the need to be giving interviews or making public appearances," he said.
Heal, a Labor Party MP on a four-day visit to Cuba, said Alarcon told her Castro continued to improve.
"He did not say whether he will (resume power) nor did he say he wouldn't either," she said after their lunch.
A video clip released two weeks ago showed Castro has put on weight but remains frail. He is thought to have suffered from diverticulitis, or inflamed bulges in the large intestine, and had complications during surgery. Many observers believe he will not be strong enough to resume a full leadership role.
Cuba's acting president Raul Castro, 75, said last week that his brother is getting better by the day, doing exercise and on the telephone a lot to his aides.
"He is consulted on the most important matters. He does not interfere with anything, but he is up to date on everything," Raul told reporters at a book fair.
Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited.