Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is believed to have terminal cancer and is unlikely to return to power, Time magazine reported on Saturday, citing US government officials.
Despite remarks by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque on Wednesday that Castro "continues to recover (and) we will have him back leading the Revolution," Time reported on its website that many US officials are now convinced that Castro has terminal cancer and will never retake the reins of the Americas' only communist-ruled country.
"Certainly we have heard this, that this guy has terminal cancer," a US official told the magazine on condition of anonymity.
Castro, 80, handed over the presidency for the first time in almost five decades to his brother Raul Castro, 75, who has long been Cuba's defence chief, after undergoing intestinal surgery in July. He has largely remained out of the public spotlight since then.
Time.Com noted in the report that the intelligence reports on Castro's health could be wrong, but reporter Tim Burger, one of the article's authors, told CNN television: "Obviously there is intelligence to that effect" that Castro will not recover and return to work.
"There have been lots of rumours over the decades about Castro's health. This time, there's specificity and they attribute credibility to the reports," Burger said.