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Castro not present in Cuba's 48th anniversary

Castro, 80, has yet to make a public appearance since handing power to his brother Raul.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2007 09:14 IST

Cuba celebrated the 48th anniversary of the revolution on Monday that brought Fidel Castro to power, but the ailing leader remained out of sight five months after intestinal surgery that sidelined him.

Parties were held across the Caribbean island and at Havana's Revolution Square, while Cuba media reprinted on Monday a written message from Castro, the first in two months, in which he warns that his recovery will take time.

"I had always warned that my recuperation will be a prolonged process, but the battle is far from lost," Castro said in the statement first released on Saturday.

Castro, 80, has yet to make a public appearance since handing power to his brother Raul on July 31 while he recovers from surgery.

Allies praised the communist leader in messages to mark the 48th anniversary of the 1959 Cuban revolution.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, in a message published Monday in the official Cuban daily Granma, sent get-well wishes to Castro and called for "greater development" of Cuban-Chinese cooperation.

"We wish for prosperity for Cuba, for the well-being of its people as well as the health of the comrade president (Castro)," Hu and Wen said in the statement.

"On the 48th anniversary of the Cuban revolution's victory, we have the pleasure of expressing warm congratulations to you and, for its dignified conduct, to the Cuban (Communist) Party, government and people," they said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, whose country fell under tougher US and UN sanctions following its October 9 nuclear test, applauded Castro for standing up against US sanctions and pressure for decades, official media said.

Cuba was "decisively frustrating the vicious sanctions and blockade of the US imperialists and their moves for aggression" under Castro's leadership, Kim said in a message carried by the Korean Central News Agency on Sunday.

First Published: Jan 02, 2007 05:38 IST