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Fidel Castro claims that George W. Bush is waiting to die but cannot kill his ideas

Fidel Castro said in a statement published that U.S. President George W. Bush is waiting for him to die but that the American leader cannot kill his ideas.

The latest in a series of essays by the 80-year-old Castro, who has not been seen in public since becoming ill more than 10 months ago, was published on the front page of the Communist Party daily Granma.

The Cuban leader said that Bush, asked recently about his Cuba policy, replied: "I'm a hard-line president and I'm only waiting for Castro to die."

"I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, who Bush has ordered to be deprived of life," said Castro, who offered no details of the alleged conversation.

American law now prohibits the U.S. government from ordering the assassination of foreign leaders, but declassified U.S. documents show that the CIA made numerous attempts to kill Castro in the early years after the 1959 Cuban revolution.

"Ideas are not killed," Castro wrote.

He criticized the Bush administration for spending on weaponry while people in developing nations go hungry.

"I ask myself how many doctors can graduate with the 100 billion dollars that in just one year fall into Bush's hands to continue to sow mourning in Iraqi and American homes," he wrote. "The answer: 999,990 doctors, who could attend to 2 billion people who today receive no medical care."

Castro shocked Cuba on July 31 when he announced that he had undergone emergency intestinal surgery and was stepping aside provisionally for his younger brother Raul, the defense minister, during his recovery.

Although senior Cuban officials have said Castro is on the mend, it seems more unlikely with time that the bearded leader will return to power.

In one of his essays earlier this month, Castro offered a few new details about illness, saying that he had numerous operations and that the first procedure did not go well.

Castro's exact ailment and condition remain state secrets, but he is widely believed to suffer from diverticular disease, which causes sacs in the colon that can become inflamed and bleed.