Castro tones down optimism on Chávez

More than a week after former leader Fidel Castro was quoted in Cuban media as saying Venezuela’s cancer-stricken President Hugo Chávez was much better, the Communist Party newspaper published a different, toned down version of his comments Tuesday.

The transcript in Granma, said to have been reviewed and updated’ by Castro, left out the more positive assessments of Chavez’ condition, but did say he was recovering.

Castro, who spoke with reporters when he went to vote in Cuba’s National Assembly election, was quoted in Feb. 4 news accounts as telling reporters he got daily reports on Chávez and that he was doing “much better, recovering” two months after undergoing a six-hour operation in Havana.

“It has been a tough fight but he is improving,” Castro said. `”We have to cure him. Chávez is very important for his country and for Latin America.”

In the official version, published Tuesday, Castro said that Chávez is recovering, according to the last medical report I received today, Feb. 3, at midday.” Castro replied.

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