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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 01:43 GMT 02:43 UK
Castro says his health 'improved'
Fidel Castro. Picture issued 28 October 2006.
Castro has not been seen in public since surgery in July
Cuban President Fidel Castro says his health has improved after undergoing several intestinal operations.

In an article, Mr Castro says initial operations were unsuccessful, leading to a lengthy recovery period.

He says he has now stabilised his weight at about 80kg (175 pounds) and is able to take food by mouth.

The Cuban leader has not been seen in public since undergoing intestinal surgery last July and has temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul.

His health is treated as a state secret in Cuba but during his recovery he has appeared in photographs and in six video recordings, most recently at the end of January.

A seventh video, during which he meets a Chinese delegation, was not broadcast on the island.

Mr Castro, who is 80, said the only challenge to his full recovery remained his age.

"No danger is larger than that related to ageing," he said in an editorial column issued by the Cuban government by e-mail.

He added that he had "abused" his health "during the uncertain times during which I lived".

He said the extended recovery period was due to the fact that initial operations were unsuccessful.

"For many months I depended on I/Vs and catheters through which I received an important part of my nourishment," he said, adding: "Today I receive orally everything my recovery requires."

Officials in Cuba insist it is only a matter of time before Mr Castro resumes office.

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