By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – August 01, 2006
HAVANA (AP) _ Fidel Castro, who has wielded absolute power over Cuba and defied the United States for nearly a half century, was recovering from intestinal surgery Tuesday, his allies said, after temporarily turning over authority to his brother Raul.
The Venezuelan government said Fidel Castro’s recovery was “advancing positively” after surgery, citing information from the island’s government without providing details. A leftist Argentine lawmaker said Castro aides told him the surgery was successful and that Castro was resting peacefully.
The surprise announcement that Castro had been operated on to repair a “sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding” stunned Cubans on the island and in exile, and marked the first time that Castro, two weeks away from 80th birthday, had relinquished power in 47 years of rule.