Castro back in limelight
Convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro has jumped back into the limelight with two newspaper columns attacking the United States that point to a future role as elder statesman for the 80-year-old revolutionary.
Eight months after stomach surgery forced him to hand over power to his brother Raul, Mr Castro is back in fighting form, albeit from his sickbed.
In the columns published by the Communist Party newspaper Granma in the past two weeks, Mr Castro denounced his archenemy the United States for using food crops for biofuels, saying the Bush administration's ethanol plans will increase hunger among the world's poor.
Cubans are no longer asking whether Mr Castro will live or die. They now wonder when and how he will reappear in public.
"I think he will be back but with fewer duties," a pharmacy professor who did not want to be identified said at the University of Havana where Mr Castro began his political career with rousing speeches as a law student 60 years ago.
Havana housewife Ana Valdes said, "I want to see him at the May 1 rally in Revolution Square." Ms Valdes, who complained about economic hardship in Cuba, added, "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't."
Cuban officials say Mr Castro is steadily recovering from his surgery and it is just a question of time until he resumes the presidency he temporarily ceded to Raul Castro on July 31.
Mr Castro is thought to have suffered from diverticulitis, an inflammation of the large intestine that required complicated surgery. His main ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said last month Mr Castro's life had been in danger at one point.