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Castro Reportedly in 'Grave' Condition

A second operation to clean and drain the infected area was conducted. Doctors removed the remainder of Castro's large intestine and created an artificial anus. But this operation also failed, El Pais said.

The Cuban leader was then hit with inflammation of the bile duct. He developed a condition called cholecystitis, which is an inflammation of the gall bladder. El Pais said this condition has an 80 percent mortality rate.

A prosthetic device made in South Korea was implanted in the bile duct and failed, and was replaced with one made in Spain, the report said.

El Pais said that in December, when Garcia Sabrido visited, Castro had an abdominal wound that was leaking more than a pint of fluids a day, causing "a severe loss of nutrients." The Cuban leader was being fed intravenously, the report said.

Garcia Sabrido's secretary said he would not comment on the report.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the El Pais report appears to be "just sort of a roundup of previous health reports. We've got nothing new."

A statement attributed to Castro was released on Dec. 31, saying his recovery was "far from being a lost battle."

Cuban officials told visiting U.S. lawmakers last month that Castro does not have cancer or a terminal illness and will eventually return to public life, although it was not clear whether he would return to the same kind of absolute control as before.

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Associated Press writer Vanessa Arrington contributed to this report from Havana.


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