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Fidel Castro says his 'health is failing'

January 23, 2009 17:04 IST

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Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has lived through the tenures of ten American Presidents, says that his health is deteriorating and he may not see the end of Barack Obama's [Images] presidency.

"I have had the rare privilege of observing events over such a long time. I receive information and meditate calmly on those events. I expect I won't enjoy that privilege in four years when Obama's first presidential term has ended," the 82-year-old Cuban leader wrote in a column.

Though he didn't elaborate but suggested in the column titled 'Reflections of Comrade Fidel', posted on the web, that he was stepping out of government affairs.

"I have reduced the Reflections as I had planned this year, so I won't interfere or get in the way of the Communist Party or government comrades in the constant decisions they must make," Castro wrote.

The bulk of the column was devoted to praising Obama, in part for his decision to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, recalling his thoughts as he watched Obama assume the "leadership of the empire," The Daily Telegraph reported.

"The intelligent and noble face of the first black president of the United States... had transformed itself under the inspiration of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King into a living symbol of the American dream," he wrote.

However, the veteran Cuban leader has suggested that Obama would soon fall victim to the US system: "What will he do soon, when the immense power that he has taken in his hands is absolutely useless to overcome the unsolvable, antagonistic contradictions of the (American) system?"

Castro hasn't been seen in public since July 2006 when he underwent emergency surgery. He turned over the presidency to his younger brother Raul last February after nearly a half century as Cuba's leader.

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