Official Puts Castro's Absence at 'Some Weeks'

Ricardo Alarcon

hide captionRicardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly, speaks at the United Nations in New York in 2005.

Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

Bonus Audio

Ricardo Alarcon discusses Cuba's future — and U.S. policies toward it — with NPR's Michelle Norris.

A top Cuban official says it will be "some weeks" until Fidel Castro returns to power. Ricardo Alarcon, president National Assembly of Cuba, also describes Castro as being "perfectly back" mentally and "alive and alert."

The Cuban president is recovering from an operation over the weekend for intestinal bleeding.

Alarcon said that Castro drafted the announcement that was made Monday evening, granting provisional powers to his brother, Raul Castro.

Alarcon objected to the term "transfer of power" to describe what had happened: "Really, the wording is 'provisionally handing over certain functions to others' because he simply cannot perform those functions when he’s been forced to rest" after his surgery.

Alarcon did not give any further details about Castro's health or what type of operation he went underwent.

He criticized the U.S. interest in Castro's condition.

"The real concern of the people in the United States, more than the particulars of the health of another person, is the very sick policy of pretending to dictate the destiny of somebody else," he said.

Raul Castro was in Havana, Alarcon said, and would make a public address "when he so wishes."

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