Better days: Fidel Castro on Jan. 11, 1998. Photo: Along the Malecon archives
Fidel Castro says he was clinically dead. His heart and breathing had stopped when doctors revived him, the former Cuban president told Mexico's La Jornada newspaper.
"I was dead, but was resuscitated," said Castro, who dropped out of sight for four years after falling ill in July 2006.
Machines and tubes connected to his body helped keep Castro alive, but he said his weight plunged.
"Imagine a guy of my height weighing 66 kilos (145 pounds)," said Castro, who is more than six feet tall. "Today I'm between 85 and 86 kilos (187 and 189 pounds), and this morning I managed to take 600 steps without a cane, without help."
Castro, who underwent emergency surgery for an intestinal ailment, credited Cuba's health care system with saving him.
"Lying in that bed, just looking around, ignorant of all these medical devices. I did not know how long this torment would last and the only thing I hoped was that the world would stop."
Once he recovered, Castro discovered the world had not stopped, but some things had not changed. The world was still a chaotic place.
"A crazy world ... A world that appears every day on television, in newspapers, and that no one understands," Castro said.
Still, he said, he didn't want to miss any of it and is determined to stay active.
"I don't want to be absent during these days. The world is in the most interesting and dangerous phase of its existence and I am quite invested in what will happen. I still have things to do."
More specifically, Castro said, he wants to help form an international movement to end the threat of nuclear war.
Also in the interview, Castro defended the limited availability of the Internet on the island. He blamed the United States for Cuba's straits. He said the embargo prevents Cuba from connecting to the Internet through an underwater cable from the U.S. mainland. Instead, Castro said, Cuba must use satellite signals, which is more expensive.
The high cost prohibits the government from making the Internet widely available, Castro said.
Along the Malecon's Fidel Castro page