New photos show smiling Fidel Castro out in public


Kasas city star:

New pictures of Fidel Castro show the stooped but smiling former leader venturing out to meet with workers at a Cuban scientific think tank – the first to show him in public since he got sick four years ago.

Fidel Castro live

Previously, Cuba had occasionally released pictures showing him in private meetings with dignitaries, most recently during a visit in February by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. In those pictures, Castro looked cheerful and robust.

Fidel Castor 10. July

The latest batch of pictures of the tracksuit-clad Castro were posted Saturday on the blogs of two Cuban journalists and a media website.

Castro, 83, appears slightly stooped but otherwise healthy in the pictures, which were said to have been taken Wednesday during a visit to the National Center for Scientific Investigation in Havana.

The initial set of four photos appeared on the blogs of two official Cuban journalists and apparently were taken with a worker’s mobile phone. Castro is seen raising his hand to wave in one picture and seemingly being led away in another.

Fidel Castor 10. July

More images from the same event were posted later on Cubadebate, a state-run media website. In those pictures, Castro is seen laughing and talking with workers, some of whom line an overhead walkway to wave and clap at him. In one, he leans back casually against a desk, looking animated.

“He is thin but he looks good, and according to our director, he is very good mentally,” reads a comment accompanying photos on the blog of Rosa C. Baez, a journalist who works for official Cuban media.

10. July Fidel Castro

The comments were sent to her along with the photos by an unidentified worker, who said Castro stopped, said hello and blew kisses to the employees.

“They didn’t let us get close to him, but when he left, there were too many people standing around and I was standing just three meters (yards) from him,” gushes the worker.

Those photos were also posted on the blog of Norelys Morales, a well-known Cuban television journalist. Morales told The Associated Press she got them in an e-mail sent to various people by the worker. She would not reveal the worker’s name.

Repeated calls to the think tank went unanswered Saturday.

Cuban media are strictly controlled by the government, and the fact the photos appeared on blogs of two official journalists and later on Cubadebate was significant. Cubadebate said the revolutionary icon visited the science center to celebrate its 45th anniversary.

It was the first time that photos have been released of Castro in public since he fell seriously ill in July 2006. The illness forced him to turn over power – first temporarily, then permanently – to his younger brother Raul, who is 79.

The elder Castro remains head of Cuba’s Communist Party and continues to publish his thoughts on world events in frequent opinion pieces.

The two Castros have ruled Cuba since overthrowing dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Fidel’s health has for years been the subject of frequent rumors – particularly among exiles in Florida.

Castro himself said last year that he does not think he will see Barack Obama re-elected in 2012 – though it was unclear if he was passing judgment on his own life expectancy or the political fortunes of the U.S. president.

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Cuba on Alert of Second Wave of A (H1N1)


Prensa Latina: The Public Health (MINSAP) Vice Minister Luis Estruch called to step up preventive measures facing the second wave of A(H1N1) flu that have killed 41 people and infected about 1,000 in Cuba.

So far there are 1000 confirmed there could be more but only those backed by a sample of the virus are approved as official data, expressed the vice minister in statements made to Granma daily.

For the man in charged of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology in the Ministry of Health no country can afford to test all the people suspicious of the virus since the analysis of every sample costs about 100 dollars.

Estruch emphasized that if the disease is treated in time there is no danger for life due to the resources of the country of hospitals capacities, therapy service, oxygenation, antibiotics and other medicines.

The first cases in Cuba were detected on May with the return of three Mexican students to classes and in September the disease already showed up all over the country more deeply in the western side, recalled the Vice minister.

As part of the Cuban strategy to face the flu the official mentioned special control of pregnant women and disabled children, the most vulnerable groups of the population.

He also called to intensify ports and airports searches facing the mass entry of tourists from December to February and the return of Cuban collaborators from abroad and foreign scholarships.

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Cuba and Venezuela signed 3 billion USD agreement


Examiner.com: Hugo Chavez arrived in Havana on Friday, two days before the scheduled meeting of the ALBA nations. ALBA is a bloc of nine Latin American member nations which include Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda. It was initiated by Chavez to counter the US-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas.

After he landed on Friday, he met with Raul Castro who is 77 years old, and succeeded his brother Fidel, now 83, to the presidency of Cuba. On Saturday, the two men signed a reported 285 agreements worth a total of $3.2 billion to go into effect in 2010. These agreements are said to focus on health, education, farming and energy sectors.

The Cuban News Agency boasted the close relationship between the two countries and the importance of Chavez’ visit to the island nation.

According to a BBC report, the US was the target of much criticism from Chavez, who declared that the U.S. behaved as if Latin America were its backyard, and he is still unhappy about the U.S. decision to deploy armed forces to Colombia. Raul Castro also criticized the situation in Colombia, saying that President Obama ‘had carried out a hegemonic offensive with the Colombia deal’.

In what appeared to be a response to Secretary of State Clinton’s warning to Latin American countries regarding strong ties with Iran, Chavez judged the warning to be an ‘imperial offensive’.

And lastly, Raul Castro declared that the ‘coup’ which deposed former Honduran President Zelaya was orchestrated by the United States.

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70 percent of children suffering from leukaemia survive in Cuba


Juventud Rebelede:

Today, 70 percent of children suffering from leukaemia survive, and those who suffer from sicklemia usually live beyond 50 years of age

In 1965, all Cuban children who had acute leukaemia —the most common kind of cancer in children— died; and those who suffered from drepanocitosis or sicklemia did not fair much better. Today, 70 percent of children suffering from leukaemia survive, and those who suffer from sicklemia usually live beyond 50 years of age.

Dr. Eva Svarch made this announcement Thursday at the Hematology 2009 International Conference that concludes in Havana on Friday.

Leukaemia is a chronic, incurable disease but that can be controlled with the proper medicines and simple measures. Cuba has the most advance treatment for sicklemia in Latin America.

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Heberprot-B, an innovative cuban medicament for deep diabetic ulcers in registration process in China


ACN:

Heberprot-B, an innovative medicament for deep diabetic ulcers, has begun a process of registration with the China Drug Regulating Agency.The head of Havana’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), Dr. Luis Herrera, explained that this product is the result of Cuba’s efforts to offer an effective solution to serious ailments, Prensa Latina news agency reports.

Herrera is currently holding meetings and contacts with companies in this sector, aimed at increasing cooperation between the two countries in the fields of biotechnology and genetic engineering.

The specialist pointed out that the characteristics and positive effects of Heberprot-B turn this medicament into the only therapeutic alternative for the deep and complex ulcers that many diabetics usually suffer from.

He added that, as a result, this product of Cuban science reduces the risks of amputation of the lower extremities, as well as the consequences caused these amputations for patients and their environment.

Heberprot-B has already been registered in Algeria, Argentina and Venezuela, and it is protected by a patent backed by a group of clinical studies carried out since 2002 on over 300 patients, which allowed its registration in Cuba in 2006 and its inclusion on the basic list of medicaments since 2007.

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Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Successful Over 95 percent in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba


Escambray.cu:

Over 95 percent of the 307 multiple sclerosis patients so far treated in Sancti Spiritus’s Dr. Faustino Perez rehabilitation hospital -central Cuba- has experienced improvements.It was so demonstrated by a recent study showing that the Integral Neuro-rehabilitation Program improves the physical component (motor abilities) over the mental one (memory, language, and concentration disorders, among others).

According to Dr. Sara María Díaz Díaz, a first degree specialist on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who was a member of the investigation team, female patients were majority while 50% of the patients were retired workers.

The above mentioned program was started in this health institution in 2003 for the treatment of this inflammatory nervous disorder which is the first cause of neurological impairment in young adults.

Patients from all over the country have come to this hospital which was selected for the project taking into consideration both geographical and environmental facts as well as the commitment of the staff.

According to international health organizations’ studies, one million people suffer from this disorder in the world and 3 000 of them are Cubans.

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Cuba Invests Heavy in Health Services


A large investment project is being implemented in about a dozen health facilities in the western Cuban province of Matanzas, a territory assigning over 30 percent of its budget to the sector.

The largest work to improve health services is been made at Faustino Perez Hospital, about 62.13 miles east of Havana.

Meanwhile, construction units are working in six municipalities of that province, restoring two hospitals and four polyclinics to increase attention to the population.
(PL)

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