Monday, July 31, 2006

Castro faces surgery, cedes power to brother

In a stunning development, Cuban leader Fidel Castro temporarily ceded his presidential power to brother RĂ¡ul Castro late Monday due to ''an intestinal crisis'' that requires ''complicated surgery,'' according to a letter read on Cuban national television.

The letter, reportedly signed by the Cuban leader and read by Carlos Valenciaga, his secretary, said that Castro was assigning his top duties to his brother because Cuba is ``threatened by the United States government.''

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz predicted that the next few days would be ``very tense.''

He called it ''unusual'' that Castro would be willing to cede power, even temporarily, and suggested that it was a sign that the Cuban leader's health was deteriorating sharply.

''Obviously, we're all going to be very, very happy the day that he dies,'' Diaz said. ``We'll be keeping a close eye.''


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