Largely alert and lucid, Fidel Castro made a surprise appearance on a television news program Friday evening in a pre-recorded, hourlong interview, speaking about an essay he wrote earlier this week condemning the U.S. for threatening the global economy.
His appearance was unusual because Castro has largely been out of the public eye since he underwent emergency intestinal surgery 14 months ago. The government has at times shown photographs and video of Castro, but his exact illness and prognosis are secrets. Castro’s only other long television interview was in early June.
During Friday’s interview Castro’s voice remained weak. But he maintained his signature ability for rambling discourse, as well as animated hand gestures, including once slapping an object that was off screen.
On a few occasions, the interviewer had to coach and prompt Castro, including when he had to correct Castro on the number of “Reflections” columns – 45 – he has written during his illness. Castro had a rough start in the interview, seeming to be at a loss for words at points, but he became energized as time went along.
Peruvian president to face charges
The Chilean Supreme Court on Friday ruled that former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori must be extradited back to his homeland to face human rights and corruption charges.
The decision ended a seven-year saga over the fate of one of Latin America’s most controversial figures – a man who was hailed for defeating brutal guerrilla movements but who also was accused of embezzling millions of dollars from government coffers and of authorizing the operations of a secret death squad.
Fujimori, 69, who has been in Chile for nearly two years, was expected to be flown to Peru as soon as possible, likely within a few days. The court decision cannot be appealed.