People's Daily Online
UPDATED: 14:07, November 29, 2006
Cuban people on Tuesday held a gala celebrating their leader Fidel Castro's 80th birthday, but Castro did not attend the celebrations personally upon his doctors' advice.
"According to my physicians, I was not yet ready for such a big event, so I decided to speak with you in this way," Castro said in a written message read to guests and supporters in the gala, which was held in Havana's Karl Marx Theater.
"I felt sorrowful for not being able to personally thank you and embrace everyone of you," Castro said.
He added that he was busy with his work recently, to realize the aims he proposed on July 31, when he temporarily ceded power to Defense Minister Raul Castro.
Castro's birthday was on Aug. 13, but he postponed celebrations because he was recovering from an intestinal surgery on July 27.
Officials said that around 1,600 guests from about 80 countries will attend a series of celebrations for Castro's birthday, which include seminars, symphony concerts and picture shows.