Fidel Castro to Cubans: Keep me in the loop
Patrick Oppmann, CNN
Fidel Castro writes that he was tardy in paying respects after the death of a well-known coach
"Comrades noticed the absence of a floral arrangement from us," writes the former leader
Castro adds, "I always admired him but did not know of his passing until some hours later"
Havana, Cuba.- Former Cuban President Fidel Castro published a thinly-veiled complaint Tuesday that he is not being kept up to date on happenings in Cuba.
In a short note signed by Castro, 87, on the front page of the Cuban communist party daily Granma, Castro lamented that he was tardy in paying his respects at the passing of Eugenio George, the longtime coach of Cuba's female volleyball team. George, 81, died Saturday and was buried the next day, according to Castro's note.
"Many comrades noticed the absence of a floral arrangement from us," Castro wrote. "I always admired him but did not know of his passing until some hours later."
During his 47 years in power, Castro was famous for his marathon speeches and micromanagement of Cuba's economy and international affairs.
But following a still-undisclosed intestinal illness in 2006, Castro was forced to step down, eventually being replaced by his brother Raul as President in 2008.
Absent from public view for months at a time, Castro briefly returned to the spotlight in 2012 when he began to publish short "reflections" columns in the Cuban state press.
But Castro stopped publishing the columns, which detailed varied topics such as the former leader's interest in yoga and medicinal plants, after he said he no longer had time to write.
Castro is still referred to as "the historic leader" of the Cuban revolution by the island's state-run press and government officials say he is consulted before major decisions are taken.
But in May, Bolivian President Evo Morales, a close ally to Cuba, told the Spanish language edition of the magazine Vanity Fair that Castro "isn't aware of what's going on any more."
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