Fidel Castro Temporarily Relinquishes Power Due to Illness

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jul 31, 2006 11:34 PM

Well, this is an interesting story:

Fidel Castro temporarily relinquished his presidential powers to his brother Raul on Monday night and told Cubans he underwent surgery.

The Cuban leader said he had suffered gastrointestinal bleeding, apparently due to stress from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba, according to the letter read live on television by his secretary, Carlos Valenciaga.

"The operation obligates me to undertake several weeks of rest," the letter read, adding that extreme stress "had provoked in me a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure."

Babalu Blog is on death watch, but has been unable to get in touch with any relatives in Cuba. Here's the scene in Miami:

Update: People have taken to the streets in Little Havana in Miami. Calle Ocho is packed with Cubans celebrating the news. Our phones here havent stopped ringing and we're unable to communicate with anyone in Cuba. Versailles Restaturant is packed with folks honking, screaming and waving flags. My wife insists that castro is dead.

My friend Emily Dunham (she likes me to use her last name) and I were sitting on the porch when her Blackberry received the Fox News Alert about Castro.

We cheered and toasted. "What a great night," she exclaimed. Only in D.C. (oh, and Miami)