Letters and Messages

To the people of Cuba (2006)

Dear fellow Cubans,

In recent days, I appeared on television and in a number of photos published in various newspapers. I know our people were very happy to see these images.

The only unfortunate aspect of this, as some rightly pointed out, was how thin I looked. I am glad you noticed it. This makes it easier for me to share with you more recent photos and, in so doing, to inform you that I lost 41 pounds in just a few days. I should also add that it was only very recently that I had the last surgical stitch removed after a 34-day-long convalescence.

Not once, not even during the most difficult days I went through since 26 July, did I spare efforts to try and make up for the adverse political repercussions of this completely unexpected health problem. As a result of this, I am pleased to say I was able to make progress in several important areas. I can tell you that Ramonet's book, A Hundred Hours with Fidel, in which I was working on the days I suffered this complication to thoroughly review my replies, is practically finished and will soon be published, as I promised. However, this has not interfered with my recovery process, which I have undertaken with great discipline.

I can assure you that the most critical phase is now behind me. I am recovering at a satisfactory pace. Shortly, I will be meeting with distinguished visitors. This does not mean that images or photos of every activity will be broadcasted or published right away, but news of each will always be made available.

We must all understand that it is not well-advised to regularly report on or show images of my recovery process. Similarly, we must be realistic and understand that a complete recovery, whether we like it or not, will take time.

For the moment, I have no need to rush, and no one should. The country is doing well and making progress.

Today, the school year began with an enrollment and with prospects our country has never seen before. What a marvelous event!

One last thing: I would like to ask all honest Cubans, which make up the immense majority of our people, not to blame anyone for the discretion that, in the interest of our national security and in order to protect our Revolution, I have asked of everyone.

I am infinitely grateful to you!