Castro appears on TV, scoffs at rumors of his death - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/29/06-HAVANA, Cuba

Castro appears on TV, scoffs at rumors of his death

Fidel Castro, 80, appeared on Cuban state television Saturday and said his recovery would take a long time. Fidel Castro, 80, appeared on Cuban state television Saturday and said his recovery would take a long time.

The ailing Fidel Castro appeared on Cuban state television for the first time in more than a month Saturday, looking thin and tired but walking and ridiculing recent rumors of his death.

The 80-year-old Cuban leader temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul in July following intestinal surgery for an undisclosed ailment. Fidel Castro had not been seen since mid-September, when photographs of him greeting world leaders at a summit in Havana were released.

Saturday's video showed him walking slowly but steadily in an unidentified room and reading a newspaper in a loud voice.

"They've declared me moribund prematurely," he said, holding a copy of Saturday's edition of Granma, the Communist Party daily newspaper.

"But it pleases me to send my compatriots and friends this small video."

He said his recovery would be long and not without risk.

But he added: "I'm not the least bit afraid of what will occur."

The Cuban dictator said he was "coming along just as planned" and called rumors of his death ridiculous and insulting, claiming they were the work of his enemies.

"Let's see what they say now," he said.

The Cuban government has treated Castro's ailment as a state secret.

Rumors that he might have died intensified in recent weeks. He has not made a public appearance since July 26, a few days before he underwent surgery.

On Friday, Castro's close friend and ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the Cuban leader was up and about and taking trips at night into the countryside.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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