HAVANA – Fidel Castro said he has completely recovered from a serious illness that forced him to cede the Cuban presidency.
“It wasn’t all that long ago really that I waged the final battles to be able to be in the condition I’m in now,” the 83-year-old former head of state told a group of young people Friday in remarks broadcast by state television.
Castro noted that for more than two months he has written several articles warning about the possibility of nuclear war in the Korean Peninsula or Iran, saying they were published even before he had “totally” recovered.
The Cuban leader referred to his health at the start of the gathering, in which leaders of the Young Communist League, workers, students, artists and intellectuals and members of the Cuban armed forces and the Interior Ministry participated.
Standing at a lectern, Castro also read a message intended for young Cubans in which he said they will “fulfill a sacred duty” corresponding to the time in which they live.
Castro, who will turn 84 on Aug. 13 and still holds the post of first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, has made a series of public appearances over the past two weeks beginning with a visit to a scientific research center on July 7.
Since then, Castro has visited other Cuban public facilities, participated in a television program and even met with 115 Cuban ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry.
Between the onset of his illness and his reappearance in public, Castro had only been seen in photos and videos – usually in a tracksuit – at the secret location where he was recovering.
On July 25 – for the first time since 2006, when he temporarily and then permanently ceded power to his younger brother Raul Castro – the former leader was seen sporting an olive green shirt reminiscent of the traditional military uniform he wore during his many decades in power.
On Friday, however, Castro wore a red checkered shirt.
Castro also recently announced the upcoming publication of the first volume of his memoirs.
Titled “The Strategic Victory,” it documents the revolutionary struggle that led to the defeat of Fulgencio Batista’s army in 1958 and also will include an autobiographical section on his childhood and adolescence.