For immediate release
August 2, 2006
Contact:
Emily Lenzner, NPR
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CASTRO CONFIDENTE SAYS CUBAN PRESIDENT WILL RETURN TO WORK IN WEEKS

INTERVIEW WITH HEAD OF CUBA'S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RICARDO ALARCON AIRS ON NPR'S ALL THINGS CONSIDERED TODAY -- WEDNESDAY AUGUST 2, 2006

Audio of Interview to be Available after 7:30pm ET at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5602032


Washington, D.C.; August 2, 2006 - As speculation and uncertainty about the health and future of Cuba President Fidel Castro continue, the president of Cuba's National Assembly Ricardo Alarcon, put some of the unanswered questions to rest in an interview this afternoon on NPR's All Things Considered. In the interview, Alarcon told NPR's Michele Norris that Castro is expected to resume power in "some weeks," that he is alert and participating in decision making, and that he met with Castro on Monday following his surgery over the weekend.

A rush transcription of the interview with Ricardo Alarcon is below. All excerpts must be credited to NPR's All Things Considered.

+ When asked when he expects Castro to come back, Alarcon said, "Well, he's perfectly back. Mentally speaking he's, for a person that has just gone through surgery, he was very, very alive in spirit, and alert, even to take care of making certain decisions that he, himself, wrote down in a paper that was read last Monday evening. But I don't know -- I don't know physically what requires. For sure it will take some weeks. How many weeks, who knows?"

+ On whether this is indeed a temporary transfer of power, Alarcon said, "I would not use the word transfer of power. Really the wording is provisionally handing over certain functions to others, because he simply cannot perform those functions at the same time that he's forced to rest."

+ When asked what kind of surgery Castro had, Alarcon said, "He explained to me what happened to him some, but he's better than I in those areas. I really don't know."