July 18, 2007 / 7:44 AM / in 10 years

Castro says he's glued to the TV watching sports

HAVANA (Reuters) - Fidel Castro has become so glued to the television set watching the Pan-American Games unfolding in Brazil that he is forgetting to take his pills.

In a column published on Wednesday by Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper Granma, the convalescing Cuban leader said he was so engrossed with the sports that he was even forgetting to eat.

“I don’t miss a single event on television: weights, taekwondo, rowing, cycling, beach volleyball,” he wrote.

“I hardly take my eyes off the television set. Sometimes I forget when it is time to eat or take a pill,” Castro said in the column he has written since March, called “Reflections of the Comandante.”

Castro, who will be 81 next month, has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency bowel surgery that forced him to hand over power to his brother Raul last July for the first time since his 1959 revolution.

His illness remains a well-kept secret, but Cuban officials deny he has cancer. He reportedly underwent life-threatening surgery for diverticulitis, an inflammation of the colon that can cause bleeding and infection.

Television images released earlier this year showed he had regained weight.

Castro has reasserted his presence in Cuban public life through his frequent columns, which are read out repeatedly on the state-run media. But he has given no indication he plans to resume governing, and senior government officials have ceased predicting he will be back.

Many of his columns are virulent attacks on his longtime ideological nemesis, the U.S. government.

Castro told Cubans he was closely following the performance of Cuba’s athletes in the hemispheric games in Rio de Janeiro.

Cuba has won 20 medals so far, including nine gold. The United States is leading with 56 medals, including 23 gold.

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