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Spanish doctor examines Castro, diagnosis undisclosed

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• NEW: Spanish paper says Spanish surgeon examining Fidel Castro
• NEW: No disclosure of diagnosis from doctor flown to Havana from Spain
• Cuban officials deny reports that the Cuban leader has cancer
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(CNN) -- A Spanish surgeon has traveled to Havana to consider what steps should be taken to halt the deterioration of Cuban President Fidel Castro's health, a Spanish newspaper reported Sunday.

Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, chief of surgery at the Spanish public hospital Gregorio Maranon de Madrid, departed Thursday for Cuba aboard an airplane the Cuban government chartered, El Periodico de Catalunya reported.

The Cuban Embassy in Spain oversaw all details of the visit, the paper said.

The plane also carried medical equipment, some of which is not available in Havana, in case surgical interventions or new therapeutic treatments are needed, the article said.

Though the doctor had been briefed by the medical team that is treating Castro, he wanted to perform his own examination before deciding if another form of treatment is appropriate, the newspaper said.

Garcia Sabrido is a specialist in general surgery who last month led a conference at the 9th Cuban Congress of Surgery in Havana.

Although Castro's doctors have not revealed the diagnosis, North American experts have raised the possibility he is suffering from a form of cancer in or around the abdomen. (Cuban officials deny Castro has terminal illness)

Castro underwent intestinal surgery on July 31, according to The Associated Press, and has not been seen in public since.

In November, the president bowed out of an appearance for his 80th birthday party because he was too ill.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has visited with Castro and denies the diagnosis involves cancer.

The president of Brazil, Luis Inacio da Silva, told a group of journalists Saturday that he plans to visit Castro in Cuba in the middle of January.

Cuban government officials told a U.S. congressional delegation last week that Castro is not dying and does not have cancer, a member of the delegation said.

In late July, Castro temporarily handed over power to his brother Raul Castro, the country's longtime defense minister. (Read full story about Raul and Fidel).

The change in leadership caused fierce speculation over whether Fidel Castro was close to death.



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