Friday, May 21, 2004
Date: May 19 2004
Fidel Castro's doctor denied rumours that the president's health was ailing, saying today the 77-year-old leader is in excellent health and claiming he can live at least 140 years.
Dr Eugenio Selman Housein said Mr Castro continues to run and swim and pointed to the president's participation in a massive protest march on Friday.
Castro led the march past the US diplomatic mission in Havana to protest US policy against the island's communist government for about 800 metres, walking slowly and with some difficulty.
"He is formidably well," Mr Housein told reporters at a conference on "satisfactory longevity" in the capital city. The press "is always speculating about something, that he had a heart attack once, that he had cancer, some neurological problem."
But Mr Castro is healthy enough to live at least 140 years, said Mr Selman, who heads a "120-years Club" that promotes wholesome habits for the elderly.
"I am not exaggerating," said Mr Selman, who believes people are capable of living five times the number of years it takes for the human body to fully grow - which he said is around 25 years.
Cuba's life expectancy, which is 76.6 years, is one of Latin America's highest, and just below that of the United States, which is 77.4 years, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Mr Selman is never far from Mr Castro and marched near the leader on Friday. He is one of 250 medical experts from Latin American and the United States participating in the longevity conference, which runs to Friday.
This story is just magnificent. Remember the story of the longlivety of the healthy people of the Caucasus mountains, that were rumored to live way past the age of 100. That fabrication was the result of Stalins facination (and probably wish of) with longlivety. And the healthy Chairman Mao, who was so fit that he swam across a river, much to the delight of his western followers.