HAVANA – Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and his state of health is so precarious that he has trouble feeding, speaking and recognizing people, said a Venezuelan physician who assured El Nuevo Herald that he has access to firsthand sources and information.
â€œThe people with a condition of this nature have difficulty eating and, of course, they end up with total deficit in their neurologic capacities.â€
Rumors about Castroâ€™s health have circulated consistently in social networks and the media. But the speculations intensified recently, to the point that word spread that he had died and that the Cuban government would make an official announcement to that effect.
Castro was last seen in public in March, during the visit to Cuba of Pope Benedict XVI. Since June, he has not written his opinion columns, called â€œReflections.â€ He did not send any message or congratulation to ChÃ¡vez for his recent election victory.
Castro is in his home in El Laguito, Havana, receiving constant and specialized medical care, Marquina said. The idea of the Cuban authorities and Castroâ€™s family is to maintain him alive and far from public view, the doctor said.
â€œHe could last weeks like that, but what I can say is that weâ€™ll never again see him in public,â€ said Marquina in a telephone interview from Naples.
Castro receives no therapy to improve his condition because his neurological state does not allow it, Marquina added. Marquina described Castroâ€™s condition as â€œvery close to a neurovegetative state.â€
â€œHe is not receiving artificial respiration and is not connected to tubes, as some have said. Whatâ€™s probably true is that Castro is being fed through nasogastric tubes,â€ Marquina said.
He said that the death of patients with this type of clinical picture is generally caused by respiratory complications and irreversible infections.
According to Marquina, the decline in Castroâ€™s health compelled ChÃ¡vez to fly to Havana on Tuesday, to inquire about his allyâ€™s condition.