The video footage of Fidel Castro released over the weekend appears to have been shot in the same hospital where he met with a visiting Chinese delegation on April 21.
If Castro indeed is still hospitalized more than 10 months after he underwent emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding, it would indicate that while he continues to recuperate, he’s either not out of the woods or he has ultra-cautious doctors.
Castro is expected to appear on Cuban television again today in an interview with a Cuban news anchor. A short clip of that interview that aired Monday night indicated that it took place in the same hospital room.
The weekend images from a meeting with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh showed a more robust Castro in the same red, white and blue track suit that he wore for the April meeting with Wu Guanzheng, a member of China’s Communist Party politburo.
The Chinese media later released photos and a video of the meeting and reported that it took place in a hospital. A comparison of the two videos shows what appear to be the same furniture, windows, curtains and decorative plants.
The images from both encounters were broadcast on Cuban television and published in newspapers.
“What little empirical evidence we have – his own claims, plus footage and testimony from people who’ve met with him – all seems to bear out that he does appear to be getting better gradually,” said William LeoGrande, a Cuba expert with American University in Washington. “But it’s clear that his illness was extremely serious.
“People aren’t in the hospital for a whole year unless they are extremely ill,” LeoGrande said.
After 47 years of absolute control over the island, Castro handed over power to his brother Raul Castro on July 31, 2006, and has not appeared in public since July 26.