Spanish Surgeon Flies to Cuba to Study Possible Castro Surgery

A leading Spanish surgeon traveled to Havana last week to study whether Fidel Castro should undergo more surgery, a Madrid health official confirmed Monday, adding that Spain had been sending medicine for the ailing Cuban leader since June.

Castro, 80, has not appeared in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July, but has since released little information on his condition. Castro placed his younger brother, Raul, in charge of the government.

Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, chief surgeon at Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital, traveled to Cuba's capital Thursday, said Manuel Lamela, a Madrid region health official.

He added that Madrid's health department has been sending medicines to Cuba since June, but he declined to say which type or report anything about Castro's condition.

"If I did, I would be revealing the patient's pathology and we would be violating medical confidentiality and the Cuban government's media policy," he said.

Lamela said Spain would continue to give support and assistance to the Cuban government.

Castro's medical condition is a state secret. Cuban authorities deny he suffers from terminal cancer as U.S. intelligence officials have said, but have nonetheless stopped insisting Castro will return to power.