Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Hunting for clues to Castro's health
All through the night, we at CNN have been trying to learn more about the health of Fidel Castro.

Out of all the stories we do, getting details about the health of a public leader such as Castro can be the most difficult. It seems now that he is less likely to have cancer and more likely to have terrible diverticulitis. He is believed to have had three operations since July and continues to have a severe abdominal infection.

In fact, a Spanish newspaper reported said that Castro was continuing to "leak half a liter of fluid into his abdominal cavity every day." This can cause an infection known as peritonitis, which can be among the most difficult to control. There is no question that he is a very sick 80-year-old.

I always find the news gathering at CNN to be remarkable. In Spain, we have reporter Al Goodman, who chased down leads all day, eventually contacting a doctor who has examined Castro, and who denied the Spanish newspaper's report. We also have Morgan Neill, one of the few international reporters allowed in Havana. Finally, our international desk is always humming and was able to immediately translate the reported details of Castro's operations for me so that I could talk about them on television this morning.

Our few minutes of TV news were the result of lots of incredibly hard work by many people in several countries. As a result, there is a very good chance that CNN viewers actually know more about the health of Fidel Castro than the residents of Cuba.

Many think this is the very best of the journalistic process and the most comprehensive newsgathering. Others think that the personal health of someone, no matter how public a figure, should remain private. What do you think? Does it make a difference that we can bring you such specific details about the health of Fidel Castro?
Let Fidel Castro keep his health private. I don�t care how public a person is. If they don�t want share their story or health condition with the press, they shouldn�t have to. I think the press should be focused on the people who do want to share their stories. Just my opinion. I hope Castro can get well enough to give CNN the scoop.

And Good morning to ya Dr. Gupta.
When it comes to the heath of a public politician, or leader, it is essential to have the details. Their well being or illness directly impacts on the country they are leaders in, as well as the rest of the world.
As the world gets smaller, this becomes even more important. A public leader forfeits some of their privacy for the good of the people that they lead.
half-liter a day?!?! That's alot of fluid. Diverticulitis can be a horrible condition to have. I wouldn't want to be Castro right now.
So basically you don't know anything more than what was reported elsewhere?

Thanks, Doc.
Well written...
Fidel Castro is a person of great interest to entire USA due to his anti-US stand. Hence, his health is important to us. As the proverb says, "Keep your friends near and enemies nearer!" We are thankful to you, Dr. Sanjay for searching clues. Thanks again.

Ajay Dighe, Monrovia, CA.
Is it really necessary for us to be speculating on Castro illness? Yes, he's a personality, a powerful and historical one.
Yet I am a former telemetry (Cardiology) technician and there are some things that I believe in. Patient confidentiality is important, even when the patient is not our own.
The once-powerful ruler of Cuba is now just another old, dying man. We should respect his privacy and allow him to die in peace. -Rod-
Hi Dr. Gupta,
My son-in-law is from Cuba. His parents and sister and her family are still there. They will be legally able to go for a visit within the next few months. Fidel Castro's health is very important to my son-in-law, my daughter and their son related to their travel plans. I appreciate the updates on his health. Thank you so much.
I think it is shabby "journalism" to put details of any patinet's surgical complication(s) in print except in an obviously academic discussion of such problems.
This is "National Enquirer" stuff. We don't need to know the minutiae of Castro's health and the cost to provide it is absurd.
"Many think this is the very best of the journalistic process and the most comprehensive newsgathering" These are the many in the news media (paparazzi). Others are all the general public.
Of course it matters. Especially with this guy. We want to know if Castro is about to kick, and when he does, we want to know about that, too. I would see the passing of Castro as a possible chance for the Cuban people tro reclaim their country. I'm not advocating war, but the Cubanm government hasn't been the easiet to get along with.

On that basis, we need to know his status, so we can make preparations for potential fallout associated with his demise, and possibly the demise of Cuba's government along with him.
I think the health of political leaders should be investigated and known, not hidden or private, because their status can affect the lives of millions, particularly if they are replaced in power by a leader of a different character and motivation. And I think this applies to the leaders or potential leaders of any country, including Cuba.
I do not think that Castro is different from anyone else. The news should always be reported. As for the residents in Cuba they only know what their government wants them to know. I am patiently waiting for his death so I can celebrate.
Some privacy can be expected for public figures. But public figures also know and accept that once they have signed on to give public servitude, their life belongs to the public. The public has the right to know whether their leader can continue to perform his/her functions to the best interest of the community he/she serves. Cubans have a right to full knowledge whether Castro will be able to continue to heal and lead for them (however disdainful we consider his leadership to be.) Cubans have a right to be able to adequately prepare for a new leader if necessary.

Celebrity figures' health matters on the other hand remain private and are none of our business.
The health of a public official, particularly a head of state, should absolutely be a matter of public knowledge. Severe illness clearly affects an official's ability to govern, and may indeed threaten his or her life. The public needs this information to prepare for political changes that may occur if their leader dies or is debilitated. In Cuba, unfortunately, this is not likely to occur, due to the stranglehold on information that Castro himself has instituted over many decades. Happily, we in the U.S. are generally well-informed about the health and fitness of the people charged with leading our country.
Although i watch CNN on line regularly i get tired of all of you using your space to pat each other on the back. Isn't the viewership enough? Please just stick to the reporting and let us tell you whether you are doing a great job by our viewership. Its the news we want. Not the ego.
Like or dislike Fidel Castro, his health is newsworthy. Here is a man who has been a dictator of a poor island nation for six decades. He has kept his people in poverty and now that he is likely to succumb to his illness there is a glimmer of hope for Cuban ex-pats and citizens for a better tomorrow for their country.

Fidel was a cult of personality that is now fading away.
I really do not care about that miserable dictator. He has killed thousands and continues to violate human rights. See www.therealcuba.com for a discussion. How does he fly in a specialist from Spain when other Cubans have virtually no medical care?
I somewhat agree that people's personalissues remain private. But people like Fidel Castro, or any public figure, there is not more "privacy". On the other hand.....why are they so secretive? If he's failing, so be it. Why does the communist party withold this information from their people? Remember the same happened in Russia several years ago with Gorbeshav. He was dead 3 weeks before they announced it.
Considering Castro's influence with the radical left over the last 48 years, details on his health are incredibly important. Under him, Cuba has been both the prime intellectual mover and supplier of weapons to every guerrilla in central and south America. His death would be as welcomed in most parts of latin america as Saddam's in most parts of Iraq
It is very important to know the health of Fidel Castro in order for the DoS folks to best prepare for possible revision of the U.S. policy toward Cuba and to engage Raul Castro as the President of Cuba. As RAND study from 2004 titled "Cuba after Castro" brings out, "the U.S. government should strive to avoid postures that will inflame Cuban nationalism and thus strengthen the hand of hard-liners in their struggle against reformers within the post-Castro regime, as well as against opponents outside the regime. Hence, cultivate military-to-military contacts and use public diplomacy to reassure other elites and the Cuban people that the United States will respect Cuba�s independence, sovereignty, and dignity. However, the United States should also make clear that it will expect reciprocity in the new government taking steps toward realizing a democratic transition."
absolutely should be public. i can assure you that the cuban american population appreciates it.
Balance the reports
As long as too much of one topic is not covered daily, a mix is good. Just as the incident on water intoxication was reported recently, too much of anything is not good. Castro and Osama are one of the few I can think of who are old and sick AND viewed by the west as dangerous, interestingly we have to be wishing for their good health (religiously or medically viewed). Shouldnt many of the leaders have short life span with the amount of stress they deal with? Or they overcome that with lots of exercise and diet control.....any spies(journalists) have an inside view :-)
As an informed reader, and as a Doctor, the more detail I have the better for me to assess the current situation.
Yes it does.. Today him - tomorrow me. Besides, who really cares. Just tell me when it is over..
I don't believe that "Public Figures" as you say, should include "Public Leaders". We have a right to know what is going on with our President, I believe Cubans and Families in the US of Cubans still on the island have a right to information, good or bad.

Castro has been in the Public Eye for more than a Half Century. What makes his Doctors think that no one has a right to know what his health is. Thanks to him, US and Soviet Union almost had WWIII.

Public Leaders have a obligation to withhold nothing. Commmunist or Not.
Normally I would subscribe to the respect and privacy of anyone battling health issues, but someone of Castro's prominence is an seperate circumstance altogether. His health, good or poor, will affect the geopolitical climate, so I advocate digging for the truth in regards to his health.

Excellent work, Doctor. I find your work to be very informative.
The media tends to over-analyze every newsworthy topic. It's the nature of the beast. However, in this case, we're all waiting to see what's going to happen in a post-Castro Cuba. It's time to begin healing old wounds. And unfortunately, we only have the chance for healing once their controversial leader is gone.
I believe the health status of public figures should be public knowledge if it directly affects their ability to carry out their public responsibilities.
Of course it makes a difference to provide such a thorough report with so much wild speculation, especially among the Cuban exile community of which I'm a part of.
The paparazzi never fail to speculate. Speculation is always ripe in the media in life or death. Speculations about romance, an upcoming wedding, a strained marriage, a break-up or divorce, will he or she run for US President, and add to it the final pause button on Castro�s illness, will he live or succumb? Will Cuba change? While public figures are public domain, nonetheless, the media must play restraint in matters that are sacred in life and death. The recent hangings in Iraq, no matter how cruel, must provide a dignified response as hallmarks of a civilized society of which the USA is a part of. May their souls rest in peace.

Stephen B Gomes
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Perhaps, as a rule of thumb, the personal health of someone, should remain private. But this is not just 'someone'. Fidel Castro has been on centerstage of world affairs for as long as I can remember. The lifes of thousands of Cubans, Ex-Cubans and non-Cubans will be affected by his death. CNN has a responsibility to report on his health, as part of its service to the world community.
Of course we know more about Castro's health than Cubans.Cuba is a communist dictatorship with no freedom of the press. Any bad news about Castro is a "state secret". C'mon Doc
I think the health concerns of public figures who have a potential impact on world affairs should be made public. This comment is not made out simple individual curiousity, but for the effect it may have on us as a country and our relations with a neighboring nation. Castro and his health and political status is of huge importance. Now if it were Brad Pitt, an individual of extreme importance who was in this position health wise, everyone would want to know, except me. That mentality speaks to our screwed up priorities as a culture.
When a person commits him or herself to public office in the capacity of President of a country I think that they must give up some of their privacy regarding their personal health-but not all. There should be a degree of information transmitted to the public so that they know what to expect in their future. It's a shame that Cuban citizens know less about what is happening with their president than the rest of the world. I trust CNN to keep me informed of all the vital information I need to know on a daily basis so keep up the good work!
This man's death would be a key to opening the door of every cuban citizen's prison cell. it is essential for people to have a chance at freedom.
Heads of state don't have the luxury of privacy. Whether people like Castro or not, it's hard to ignore him. Appreciate the update, Dr. Gupta.
I appreciate the hard work all the news people do to bring the news to the public. Most people are waiting to hear about Castro. Being Cuba is jusy 90 miles off our coast , we should be aware of the changing or the welfare of Cuba.
Fidel Castro is still undoubtedly the leader of Cuba even though he has supposed passed leadership to Raul. The world is watching because Cuba without him will be a strategic piece of real estate for all countries to "controll". We should therefore know his health situation.
No difference whatsoever. Save some money, leave him alone.
The health of Fidel Castro should matter not. It is the health and the politics of his successor that we should be concerned with.

I believe it was the Soviet Union that was deploying the missiles in Cuba, similar to those we have deployed in other places around the world. Cuba, or Castro, was merely an agent of the Soviet Union, similar to those agents we have amongst our allies, UK, Italy, and Turkey.

We seem to attempt to assist countries that don't subscribe to our democratic belief system by aiding them to topple their leadership, yet the leadership we attempt to replace them with failed leadership.

Sorry about the soap box but I just thought I would grab the opportunity to address some concerns.
There are many people eagerly awaiting the eventual passage of Dr. Castro. this is a shame in that he truly is a brillian man who has led his country and not plundered it like so many other dictators. we should offer to him the best USA medicine.
A person's health is private affair. However, with such a public figure, knowing that they are 'Recovering', 'Gravely Ill', or 'Discharged' from a hospital can raise the morale of a family, community, or country. Specific details need not be told. A general "They had surgery for health issues and currently they are recovering comfortably." is all anyone but immediate family needs to know. Castro is a public leader. His country has the right to know that he is 'ill' 'recovering' or 'recovered'. But that is about all any one other than the family has a right to know.
I think accurate reporting is most important. Fidel Castro's health is a subject that needs to be reported. He has for so many years controlled and influenced the lives of so many, it is important for them and the world to know of his condition. Fidel Castro's passing will most certainly be a 'sea change' for Cuba and it's relationships with the global community.
a good chance CNN viewers know more than Cuban residents??

That would be a given! News in Cuba is censored as much as anywhere. Cuba has one of the smallest amounts of radios and TVs per capita in the world; of course CNN viewers know more than residents in Cuba - everyone else does.
As a physician, I am usually one to advocate what in this country has been known as HIPAA regulations, protecting a patient's rights to privacey. In the case of a world political figure such as Castro, I feel that the world has a right to know facts regarding his health as the impact of his current health status as well as his eventual death impacts the world in a tremendous manner.
I guess it's nice to know the health of Fidel. But whether he lives or dies is out of our control. It would be nice for all the time and effort spent on Fidel to be used on situations that the American people have control over. What good is news of an emerging drama if no one can do anything about it? Fidel will die or not die independent of anyone's actions, and knowing his day by day status is not very important in the grand scheme of world politics.
Yes, for a lot of people it makes a BIG difference. The lives of million of people are impacted by the actions and decisions of Fidel Castro. As we all know, in Cuba everything is kept secrect so I (and I'm sure many others) highly appreciate your journalistic work. THANKS!
Excellent, Dr. Gupta.

With a goverment that hermetic like the Cuban, reports like yours help us understand better the situation around Castro.

When your reports are based in facts we appreciate the results. However, when the reports are based just in rumors, the public suffers.

Thanks for helping us understand this case better.
Well, Dr. Gupta, you are quite proud of CNN's blatant disregard for a sick old man's privacy and confidentiality at his most vulnerable time.

While CNN is not a covered entity, and Castro is not a U.S. citizen, CNN is ignoring the spirit of well-established medical privacy laws(i.e., HIPAA and other common law tort causes of action in this country). For what reason? To pick on a sick 80-year old man for political reasons? Leave that to Fox News. Show more weather, sports, and feel good stories.
Has anyone considered that Castro might be suffering from Clostridium Difficile Colitis? It might explain the antibiotic resistance/continuing infection as well as possible perforations of the bowel and accompanying peritonitis. Additionally, there have been reports of 'tubes' in Castro's body that might be a pick-line.
Yes, it does make difference, especially when so many of us Cuban Americans want to see that son of a bitch dead!
Of course! Information related to the health of a dictator like Castro is news that any American or Cuban American would like to hear! Unfortunately, for Castro, because of his miserable track record with human rights, I believe most Americans are hoping to put an expiration date on this container of "sour milk".
Dr. Gupta,

I think it is important the health of a world leader be known to the general public.

I llok forward to hearing more news on Mr. Castro's health in the coming days & weeks.

Thank You.
I think that all news about the illness of Fidel Castro only serves to fuel the aspirations of wanna-be dictators and economic mercenaries within the Cuban expatriate community. On Castro's inevitable demise, Cuba will be thrown into a terrible situation due to the failure of successive US Presidencies to normalize relations with the island. The entire region including South Florida will suffer as a result.
The news may be interesting in a morbid way but not really helpful. His designated successor is in place already. U.S. Government policy has not changed and will not change while current Cuban Government policies remain. Fidel will eventually die and it will be announced ... enventually. A lot of historical footage and verbage will air and nothing will have changed ecept Fidel will be dead. So what?
When the ailing person's health and longevity have a major impact on the political fate of an entire nation, as one must suspect is the case in Cuba, I feel that investigation of the story is justified if the person's right to physical privacy is also appropriately considered. That is, I don't want to see the color of the half liter of fluid he leaks every day, but I do want to know that he is desparately ill.
Dr. Gupta:

The health of every public official is the public's business.

For a "enemy" like Castro, we need to understand that whoever follows him might be worse!

Personally, I hope the SOB suffers a long time before the end. If anyone deserves it, it is Castro!

Why am I so harsh? A boy in high school (30 years ago) has escaped from Cuba, but his father remained a political prisoner. After 15 years in jail he was released and deported.

Within a year the man was dead, a result of the conditions under which he had been held: malnutition, torture and other abuse.

Batista was an evil man, Castro is the same in a different package.
Of course it makes a difference! The future of Cuba hinges upon the result. Cuba has been in the clutches of this dictator for too long, and his death will hopefully bring about a peaceful and democratic change in Cuba.
I do appreciate CNN's constantly working on items such as this. After all, he is a major leader for Latin America and our policy may be influenced greatly by Castro's demise and a more moderate leader taking on the reigns.
Yes, news about a public figure's health is important. In Castro's case this is especially so since the political future of Cuba has a major impact on millions of Americans of Cuban decent. What happens after Castro could have profound importance to the U.S.

Tom Moody
There is no privacy anymore. The higher in office-the less of it there is and the more people want to know your business. In this case, it is important to monitor this leader's health because of the simple fact in Cuba he is the power and his word is the law, that can affect not only there but in many other countries. His mind needs to be clear and focused.
Considering who Castro is, a communist leader, and what he's done, there is a great interest in the free world. I don't feel he has a right of privacy. History is not forgetten, and we all hope for the chance of Cuba becoming a democracy. This will not happen in Castro's lifetime, so I appreciate the media finding out everything they can to keep us abreast of his situation.
Castro was comfortabel as a world leader for many years. Part of the price one pays for that is the ongoing interest of the world into his personal matters now that he is ill. Given the possible unrest and confusion which might follow his death, I believe he either has to allow the world to speculate as to his current prognosis, or relase some information that is creditable as to his true condition. He does not, in my opinion, have the same righgt to privacy as John Q. Public entering the emergency department in an American based hospital.
Of course--He may just be an old dictator, however, he is the leader of the only comunist nation in the Western Hemisphere. The actions that will take place after his death interest me and many others who are assuming some form of international conflict could follow.
A public figure is just that, public. Comments on their health in the public arena are not invasive. This is particularily true when it is the head of a government like Castro. He "volunteered" to be public, it was his choice.
Yes, I, my husband and 2 other couples have planned our March Break trip to Cuba. We are very interested in finding out as much as we can about the state of Fidel Castro's health. We have travelled to Cuba many times over the last number of years and love the country, people and it's beaches; however, I am sure if anything happened to him between now and March 11h, the travel industry in Canada would have to make a decision as to whether it would be safe to send tourists to the country.
The problem is that there has been too much attention on Fidel Castro and his dictatorship government and less on how terrible are the lives of the typical impoverished Cuban citizen. Cubans have lived for 40 years under strict poverty and control. The death of Fidel won't change the propoganda and the fact that most Americans don't even know the truth about the real people in Cuba and how difficult life is under a dictatorial (its not even Communist) government. People say Cuba has good things, like free health care. This is a lie, health care was free in Auschwitz too. I want to hear about Castro's death, not because I wish him ill, but because I am hopeful that someday our neighbors, the common Cuban people, will be able to enjoy common freedoms like running water and hope for a better future.
Well done, congratulations in your work, is important for someone like me who was brutaly torture 10 years ago for the simple reazon of thinking differently that many of my own people, thank you and god blees you.
I understand that Public Leaders'Health Issues are of great concern to -- you got it! -- the public.

However, for a Person of your medical and media standing, don't you think this particular article is shallow and not a Public Health Crisis (such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Cancer) to warrant such coverage? You have done excellent medical reporting in the past (such as your HIV/AIDS special with President Clinton), but I have to say this is of low priority (unless viewed through a political lens and not a medical one) and one of your "not so good moments"
Here in The USA,even a close relative can not have any information regarding a family member because of the HIPPA laws. Although Fidel Castro is a prominent leader, I feel that his health status should only concern him and his family members. We should hold everybody on the same standard regardless of their political affiliation, financial status and religious beliefs. As a physician Assistant student I deeply believe that Castro has the absolute right to keep private his health status if he choose to do so. He already step down from power because of his medical problems; any attempt to dig out every details of health is simple a violation of privacy.
To Dr. Gupta and all at CNN: Your efforts at bringing the facts of a very important story are extremely valuable. In and of itself, the work you do exercises every day our greatest right and freedom: speech. The news you bring, especially when it involves a potent world leader whose impairment and/or death will impact us all, is vital. Investigative journalism is the very best of work, about which you should be very proud, and for which I am very grateful.

Stacie in Grand Rapids, MI
It is essential that the world knows the health of Castro, it is a historic moment for the Cuban people and the Western hemisphere and especially the U.S. -- Cuba being only 90 miles from our shores should be of high interest to anyone because we don't know what the future will bring to Cuba after Castro is gone -- civil war? another Mariel boatlift? another radical government adverse to the US? Only the future will tell.
tell us when he is dead
Castro is just that, a "public figure", therefore his state of health, whether good or bad is definitely worthy of the most comprehensive journalistic coverage.
I feel public access to heads of government is a right. We should be aware of health issues or other need-to-know items of heads of state. It can have a huge impact on world politics and down to local government and me.
Any public figure is just that - "public," and when that public figure's is a leader of a country, that health condition can have a significant impact on the population of that particular country and/or region, thus the leader's health condition becomes an important issue and would no longer be appropriate as a private matter.
Yes, I want to know when he has left this life, so that my family can celebrate. Castro has ruined the beauty of the island of Cuba
As much as it is popular to believe in "the public's right to know", I believe a health and personal life is just that. That a public figure is "sick" or in the hospital, I agree, that information is the public's right to know, but when it comes to the details, that should be out of bounds.
Although Castro has been a selfish leader, he is still a human being. The curiosity or excitment about his degrading health condition is being hailed as the beginning of the end, which is equivalent to wishing his death to advance our own agendas. The selfish circle continues. I am not a Castro advocate; in fact I wish he would give up power immediately, but wishing his death is another matter entirely.
Leave the old man to live or die in peace! I would if I were the one being spied on by the whole world.

In the Case of Castro, just reporting his death should suffice..
I think it is an unbelieveable waste of time and energy to worry about the health of one person on this planet. You (everyone involved) should be ashamed and put your talents to work at better purposes.
All people should have the right to privacy as regards to their non-public lives. Any health professional divulging details of their patient's health (unless specifically given permission) violates that patient's rights. News media that report the same are as unethical as the source.
Castro has ruled Cuba as a tyrant that allows no dissent. As such, any information about him, or his health is fair game in the public arena.
I am happy to get some real information on Fidel Castro as opposed to hear say. I hope he continues to get better for the sake of his people.
No matter how public or famous a figure is, their personal health records should always remain private. That knowledge should only be available to their physician and themself. It makes no difference to me if I have a specific diagnosis of Fidel Castro or anyone else for that matter. The news of them being ill is sufficient. We should all remember to resepect each other's privacy.
Yes, it makes a difference. Thanks to you and CNN for doing it. Unfortunately, the people in Cuba do not have access to free, balanced and independent information and press. They only have access to government published newspapers and two television stations this could help.

Thank you!
Dr. Gupta,

Because CNN is one of only a handful of U.S.-based news agencies in Havana, we look forward to your reporting of Fidel Castro's health. As a an occassional licensed (by U.S. Dept. of Treasury) traveler to Cuba, I look forward to hearing any news about the changing political situation in Cuba and Castro's medical condition plays a direct role in any political outcomes. Thanks for your reports.

As a Cuban-American I am not interested so much in the day-to-day developments of this piece of news as I am in the final outcome of that infection. I wish to wake up one day, turn on my TV to CNN and learn that he has finally died and Cuba got rid of the greatest dictator of this century. 48 years of Totalitarianism is a very very long time. Just tell me the man is dead and I will be happy !!!
I found very interesting Dr. Gupta's talk on Castro's health today, praises for CNN on this topic, as well as others, but in this particular case, more so as the cuban government keeps Castro's health records well away from public opinion. In my opinion personal health of public figures should be known not in clinical detail, but at least some information regarding the nature of illness or illnesses, the state of health of the patient, improvements, setbacks, etc. I always remember the last years and days of Pope John Paul II, who was brave enough not to be afraid to show the world his lasts moments, so we all knew more or less how was he doing and what to expect.
Being a cuban living abroad for some years now, and knowing how the cuban authorities hide information from its citizens in every aspect of life sure it makes a difference to me.
Of course it is important to report on the health of Castro. There are too many concerns for too many people, not to report on his health. There are how many Cubans living in the United States that still have family living in Cuba? What will happen to their government? Will their boarders open? Will the United States open it�s boarders to accept more Cuban refugees? What about those Cubans now living in the United States, will thy return to Cuba, will Cuba accept their return, would it be safe for them to return. Will the American government assist in the development of a new democratic Cuba? Will there be civil war, chaos and blood shed in Cuba once Castro passes away? If there is chaos and civil, will the Middle East Terrorists use the chaos of Cuba as a hiding place, or as an access channel to reach the United States? As a responsible journalistic organization, I believe it�s your duty to report on the health of Castro. There is too much at stake for too many people for you not to.
If Castro dies the communist regime could have trouble and that would be news, but his brother could be a worse leader than he is.
Yes, it absolutely makes a difference that you can tell us about the failing health of a world leader such as Castro because the world's leaders, for better or for worse, are the ones who have the primary responsibility of keeping world order and stability. When a world leader's health is threatened, then his/her opponents see that as an opportunity to rise up and take advantage of the situation which causes instability, and when there's instability in a country or a region, we lose the peace. In some countries, the political opponents of the fallen leader can be quelled quickly, and order maintained, while in other countries chaos ensues. It's a delicate balance we maintain all over the world, and a world leader's health directly impacts that balance. So yes, it makes a BIG difference that you are able to report on a world leader's health. I believe a world leader give up the right to privacy in such matters when they agree to assume public office. Dictator or prime minister or president, they are all public servants, and the public has a right to know about things that can directly impact the peace and stability in their own country, and in other countries around the world.
I want to thank CNN for your coverage in regards to the Dictator Fidel Castro. Keep up the good investigation work on the health of this assasin.As soon as you can verify that this monster is dead let the World know, I want to celebrate the death of a man that has cause so much sofering to the Cuban people.

thank you

Ramon Fernandez
I think that in the case of Fidel Castro, it's incredibly important that Americans have accurate, up-to-date information about his health. There is no doubt that his death will create the potential for tremendous political upheaval in Cuba, with a very good chance that if conditions there destabilize, we may send military into Cuba. For sure the Cuban expatriates that form a very strong lobby will demand that.

We need to have as much good information about Castro's condition as possible. I believe that overrides any other considerations.
Castro's life and actions have been always public and directly relevant to many people around the world, not to say the cubans. Why are they now ( cuban gocerment ), asking for privacy and secretivity on an event that will change the course of life for millions of people. We are facing a new era for Cuba. Unfortunatelly this new era is strongly related to a person's death. But this was Castro's choice when almost 50 years ago he decided to punish his own country with lies, terror and prision. Almost 12 millions of cubans deserve a chance for a better life. It is time for Castro to give something in return.
Excellent reporting, we need to know what is happening and not conjecture. Thanks.
80 yrs. old unstable health: Is that really news?
A public leader, has a responsability to his/her people to discharge the powers conferred upon them by their people. It doesn't matter if the government is a theocracy, democracy, dictatoriship, monarchy or any other form of government, the power of a leader is derived from the people he/she leads, and is responsable for the discharge of such powers for the publics benefit. When such a leader becomes ill, it reduces their capcity to discharge these powers. It is the public's right to have leader who has the physical stamina to lead. When leaders are ill, the public not only has a right to know, but must know.
Absolutely, it is very important for the Cubans in exile to learn every bit of information about the health of this man. We are waiting anxiously for the end of this era and hope for a free Cuba !!!!!!!!!
He is a public figure. His health is news.
Absolutely, keep this information coming. No other news source seems to deem it important. As a Cuban, for me his death will mark for change in that neandrathalistic government.
I appreciate your effort very much. I think people have right to know about the health of their leaders. If simple workers need to report to their workplace when they are ill, and give expectations of when they will be cured, why not country leaders? We have right to know. That's why your effort is highly appreciated.
Although, he has been a horrible dictator in my contry he still a human like the rest of us, and deserves to die in peace. Stop reporting on his condition let the natural process take place.
For 45 years the Cuban people have endured on monthly rations that would barely feed a homeless person for a week in the US...
How ironic that he must be having stomach aches when for years he ate caviar,lobster and his wretched countrymen lived on sugar-water and perhaps a piece of bread sometimes only once a day.
This is his reward.This is the best thing he has done for the Cuban people.....Have a slow and painful death and have his belly in pain.
It truly is divine justice.
As you said the health of a national leader is news. There have been so many rumors surrounding Castro's health, it is good to get the truth. To me that is good journalism, not just reporting what he (or any other public figure) is rumored to have.
Yes, it does matter that you (CNN) are able to tell us the health of various world leaders-not only Fidel Castro. It is my belief, that the press-not the people-has the power, and responsibility to directly question the statements made by any government.
I think that many times the media can be perhaps, overzealous in searching for the medical status of people that are in the spotlight. With political leaders, especially those that impact our national security in any way, the media is justfied in gathering any information possible and making it available to the general public. Great job!
Dr. Gupta: In your praise piece of CNN reporting, you have failed to give us the very news that would distinguish your network from the allegedly faulty report, published by presumably, El Pa�s.
As a former intelligence analyst for NSA, I can say with a high degree of certainty that the health of Mr. Castro is probably more severe than what's being reported in the news. I recall reporting a then unknown fact that Premier Leonid Brezhnev from the former Soviet Union was actually dead well over a month before his passing was ever announced in the press. In fact, he was reported to have made several "appearances" from afar during the same period his death was known by several intelligence agencies. I would think that the same regime with close ties to the old communist party rhetoric and paranoia would do the same again with Fidel.
This is an interesting question. But really a better question is why are we interested? Does it come down to "Is the "evil" communist dictator going to die?" and what are the consequences? And how would that knowledge change how we live? - it probably won't. Yes he will die, just like you and me. And his brother will probably take over without huge changes in diplomatic relations. Cuba is no threat to any nation - in fact George Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Castro and has been a disaster for the American people and world opinion of the US. The US can no longer say it has the high moral ground in the world. Muslims are correct to label the American government as a violent imperialistic power.

Inquisitiveness about Castro's health is mere voyerism. We should be more concerned with how Bush got elected and how he put the country in debt over a new Vietnam and continues with policies that favour oil and guns.

Let's clean up our own act first before criticizing others!
Cuba has its version of the HIPPA that is in force in the United States. Under that Act, hospitals and health care providers cannot provide any information on the health condition of patients to the media or anyone else other than the immediate family members of the patient.

We have a 17 year old Pennsylvania girl hit by an out of control school bus in critical condition at the University of Pennsylvania (16 other kids had minor injuries) and the hospital will not provide any information on her condition, and her family will not do so likewise. This is a public event and we would like to know how she is doing and what her injuries were.

Per Castro's condition, why didn't the Cuban government request permission from the US Government to airlift Castro to the Mayo Clinic for treatment by the best doctors? And his medical condition would be protected by the HIPPA, released only to his immediate family, not even Dick Cheney, the CIA or the President!

The United States would be hard pressed not to refuse Castro entry to a top hospital for treatment on humanitarian grounds. The irony is that his medical condition would still be protected by US laws and still remain a state secret!
I think that if we can hear details of hangings and beheadings, then hearing details of an important leaders health is appropriate. The future of many people hinge on Castor's well-being, and is definitely news worthy.
There's "public figures", and then there are dictators who oppress an entire people such as Castro. The news is of great importance to many Americans. I think the man lost his right to medical privacy around the time firing squads began summarily executing people in Cuba, or around the time he created conditions so poor people will flee the island in inner tubes.
To be quite honest, the only news I want to hear is "He's Dead." Everything else is just fluff.
yes. but you should always make it clear that it is an opinion rather than a fact.
I whish CNN had spent 10% of the time it has spent reporting on Castro�s health telling the world about the atrocities that continue to be committed by this dictator and his followers.
It most definitely makes a difference that CNN is able to report to us the latest information on Castro's health. The fact remains that Castro is a public figure who not only has a responsibility to the Cuban people, but to the entire international community. It is imperative to those who have relatives on the island, or to those who have interests in Cuba (whether political, financial, academic, etc.), that they be made aware of Castro's health-- afterall, since the ruthless dictator controls the island nation, whatever happens to him will hold great consequences for Cuba. The world deserves to know-- but even more, the Cuban people deserve to know. Enough with the almost 50 years of tyrannical secrecy!
The health of EVERY political leader is part of the public need-to-know. Too bad if Castro or other "el presidente por vive" or viewers/readers take exception to that -- that's just the way it is.
Whether a person is a political figure or not, who may thrive on publicity & controversy, there should be that demarcation line defined that protects the individual's privacy, especially when it comes to illness & its severity. The personal turmoil of a person & the affected family should never become a topic for political punditry. Safeguarding human dignity should never be compromised for political or financial gains.
In general non-famous people should have their health matters remain private. But "public" figures give up a lot of privacy ....and health issues are included in that 'loss of privacy'. Castro is a historic and important figure in world history whether you like him or not. So keep up the good work CNN and keep us more informed that the Cuban government.
I think it is absolutely important that the news investigates the health of public officials,among its many responsibilities. We take for granted the rule of law in our country, but in ours, as well as others, foul play can have a hand in someones health, even leading to death. The press plays a very important role for society, as a protector of human rights, and should keep doing what it has. Don't ever forget your true purpose as a protector and informer to the common good of your country.
You should respect the privacy of his medical information! If you forfeit his, you forfeit your own.
Personal Health of anyone should be held with respect as per that someone's wishes.

News and ratings are not the end of the world. They are a way of getting publicly available information across to different parts of the world.
A person's intimate health details -- even that of a country's leader -- should remain private. It's enough to know Castro (or whomever) has been hospitalized. Broadcasting intimate details for the world to read is nothing more than voyeurism. Some personal privacy, PLEASE!
Nice job with your article. I believe that it comes with the territory with respect of what you publish about the tyrant`s health. Myself, being a Cuban American, I always chuckle when the likes of your network call Castro the predident of Cuba. Here is an individual that has no elections, and has killed thousands of inocent Cubans by firing squad.

I know I speak for millions of Cubans when I say that we have the champagne chilling anxiously awating for him to kick te bucket. I hope he has air conditioning readily available, he will need it where he is going.

Best regards...
For Castro - who cares.

He is a world class dictator and it is good to see him in such pain. Now maybe he can reflect on the pain he has brought to the Cuban people over the last 50 years.
Government leaders, Cubans, and Cuban exiles are more concerned with the dictator�s health than the average American or world citizen is. I personally think we should focus on a post-Castro era and see how we can compliment the revolutions efforts with capitalist/democratic opportunities, if the Cubans desire these changes. In the interim, let the old man recover or die in peace. I don�t care for health updates nor the efforts being invested into finding out.
I think that a "public" figure is just that, in the public eye, and as such is subject to all that goes along with being seen and well known.
It's news. People want to know how famous or "infamous" people are doing and/or what they are up to. Medical conditons are a part of that want to know and therefore is news. If the person or family wants medical or other information to remain private then they can certainly take steps to ensure what they believe to be their right to privacy private and the media can try to report the news to the public as the public wants it.
Of course as long as all information gathering is done by legal means then by all rights the information is subject to public review.
All we have to look at the first ammendment and it seems pretty clear to me as to what's ok and what isn't.
I suppose it's OK to look for information on the health of public figures, within the limits of decency course. In your report, you end with several paragraphs praising CNN and the journalistic work. Was that really necessary?
The uncertain health of Fidel Castro is intertwined with the uncertain social and economic future of Cuba itself. Whatever side you take to the debate over the US embargo or to Fidel's notions of "socialism" that have defined the country for decades, the future of this island nation is perhaps one of the most intriguing and uncertain questions in the news today. How will the millions of Cuban Americans respond? How will the Cuban citizens respond? Will there be a revolution? Or will Raul Castro maintain power? All of these questions become increasingly relevant with the declining health of Fidel Castro.
Regardless of how evil a person may be, a human, is a human, and we all have to face death at some point in time and when that time comes, is when we realize all the things we have done wrong and right. But this should be a time to respect the human life privacy.
It always amazes me the way people feel the need to get into the specifics of someones illness if said person is a public figure. I for one think public figures have a right to privacy and it`s not our business. As the hanging of saddam should have been private so should Fidels illness. I do not get a morbid fascination with such things. These people, good or bad should have the right of dignity even if in their lives they have denied others the same. I would never take myself to their level and enjoy gleefully anyones suffering or demise. Though I read your story I had a gross feeling in the pit of my stomach. Akin to perhaps imagining the Queen using her Royal Bathroom. Some things are just private.
I believe you comments were outstanding and touch on points on the international scene that may need to be addressed.
Personal health is a private matter. If the person is a currently serving public servant it is appropriate to give general information as to health status. In the case of Mr Castro he is not a US public servant and I see no obligation to investigate his health.
If the cuban citizenry wants more information it is up to them to ask for it.In the reporting of info as you describe in Mr Castro's case, I see you serving as an arm of the government
who sees Mr Castro as an enemy of the US and wants this information to plan its moves. Thus, if you want to report the information ,I would suggest its intent be clear to avoid such suspicions as I have.
Barbara Schneider
While undoubtedly interesting, I think that investigative reporting about anyone's health status crosses the privacy line.
Yes go for it
Normally I would agree that a person's medical information should be private and privledged. Not in the case of Fidel though, or any other brutal dictator for that matter. Cancer, diverticulitis, peritonitis? Bring it on. How about a side order of West Nile virus to go. This guy deserves this and more.
On a Need-to-Know Scale of 1-10, this story rates a 2. On a Want-to-Know scale, it rates a 5. In other words, the news gathering effort is impressive, but, in this instance, not contributing much to my day.
The health status of the leader of a country is always a state secret, especially with Cuba since the US is already planning how to interfere with Cuban affairs after Castro's passing.

The fact that CNN has gathered such information is impressive however, many government and private entities have speculated on Castro's health since the 1960s if I'm not mistaken. And here he is at 80. Many didn't think Fidel would live to see 60...will he see 85, 90?
Yes, people have a right to privacy about their health. I also feel that alot of the "rights" are given up when you have a high office within your country or are a public leader. The fate of any nation effects many others. Personally, I am glad that you can supply some details on Fidel Castro's health. Thank you.
As much as most Americans dislike Castro, he is still a very sick, old human being. The only reason why most Americans want to know his health status is to see how much longer it is until he dies. I have not heard any interests of Americans wanting to save him. Castro has done many actions that most Americans oppose, but respect should be given to him during his late stages in life.
When good reporting takes place on important issues then everyone is helped. Fidel Castro is a major world figure and an accurate assessment of his health is important to our national and diplomatic interests.

It is very refreshing to hear you talk about the process at CNN and the striving to perfect your product, news, because that is what you do. I wish some thoughts were given to the often lurid headlines running on the front page; they seem that someone on CNN's staff thinks what Rupert Murdock does is admirable. It isn't.

Thanks for your efforts.
I hope he dies..soon.
So the people of Cuba can go foward...
The truth will come out.
The health issues of a private citizen should be kept private. But, when it is the leader of a country and impacts international politics to the extent that Castro has, then whatever information that can be gleaned is fair game.
The sooner he dies, the sooner we in Cuba will be free once again. Communits, despots like him deserve the same treatment given to Saddam.
Based on the track record of Fidel Castro, I would be interested in knowing about his health situation. His health condition may help determine the political changes which may affect the economy both in and out of Cuba. I am hoping that as an American, I might eventually be allowed to visit Cuba!
"...Does it make a difference that we can bring you such specific details about the health of Fidel Castro?..."

In which world are you living? We want to be a free country. We are tired to be afraid inside this prison. Is this an enough reason for you? Sincerely, The Cubans.
The reports on the health of Fidel are of public concern as he is a person who has affected the lives of hundreds of millions in LatinAmerica in a very direct way.
How many types of diverticulitis are there?What factors does fatality depend on?
My father who was 70,was in very good health.He was in the hospital,first time ever in his life, for body aches and weakness related to a fever. His blood work and vitals were being monitored continuously so we are very sure he was good till early morning on a teusday. In abt 5 hrs time since his last blood tests(which was clean),he had a ruptured diverticulum and was operated on.
But he expired 24 hrs later,on wednesday, while under anesthesia. He wasn't brought out from anesthesia because his vitals were not good at all,so was on support.The cause was termed to be peritonitis leading to MODS.
I really appreciate the hard work it takes to get the best info on Castro. His leadership of Cuba has determined our foreign policy for that country for many decades. As with anyone who is a player in our country's foreign affairs, his health is important news as his recovery or death can have a major impact on this country. Diverticulitis and the associated peritonitis can be life threatening in a healthy individual - much less a marginally healthy 80 yr. old. I am glad to have any trustworthy news on the health of such an important man.
The answer to your question is:
Absolutely, it DOES makes a difference. As a displaced Cuban-American these news really helps the international movements, in informing the cuban people and families in the island on what is really happening with the tyran. Whatever the outcome of his sickness is, there's a fact, and I always say it: Castro has suffered his historical and intellectual DEATH. To me and my Cuban fellows, this is what it really counts. From now on it's a matter of time until the cuban people drive themselves towards democracy and a new country of reconcilliation.
as a medical doctor myself I am horrified at times the morbid interest of the public at times re the personal details of the rich and famous.....and how much the authorities are willing to divulge....when will we realise and respect the idea that limits exist...!!!!
I think that some people put themselves out there, into the public sphere, in such a way that makes their health a public issue. Castro has dominated politics, and pretty much everything else, in Cuba for the last 40+ years. Because the political process in Cuba depends wholy on him, his health affects not only the government and how it responds to the country's people, but also how we perceive the country and we, the international community, respond to it. To those who say that we should not have access to the personal health information of a public leader, I would ask, How can the United States, or any other power, formulate an effective foreign policy or after-Castro plan without knowing the state of his health, and thus his country?
It absolutely matters, in my opinion. As an immigrant from a then-Communist country, and a former news writer, I think it's vital that readers in the "free world" are presented with as much information (news) as possible.
Ifeel it is okay to know about Castro's health. After all he is a public figure.
Everyone is entitled to medical privacy, but a head of state inevitably draws public interest. It's distasteful how the US media hover like salivating vultures over the prospects of Castro's impending death. They have been doing this for more than a decade.
This is definatly a helpfull tool that all of you at cnn should be proud of. A lot of people see a 30 sec news clip and don't really know what effort that takes. All of us in the cigar industry are patiently awaiting future reports. Kudos on a job well done.

cigar dan
It makes absolutely no difference because the only thing your spewing to us is a string of probable evidence, not facts. You don't know for certain of any of the details you've provided, and so it renders your statements absolutely worthless. Thanks for your hardwork though.
Who cares, really, if he's sick or not. As far as us Canadians are concerned, Cuba has done nothing wrong but America has...so why not tell us if and when G.W. is sick and dying...thanks
Thank you for trying to keep us abreast. i am cuban-american in exile, so yes, i am curious as to his health. looking forward to a free Cuba.
It's a mixed question that you have asked.
'What do you think? Does it make a difference that we can bring you such specific details about the health of Fidel Castro?'

Reporting on the health of highly public figures in power makes sense to me. If you're going to be running my country or pressing my issues, I'd like to know that you are going to be able to perform the task.
In the case of Fidel; not being from Cuba, nor having ever gone there, nor thought about going there; I could really care less, but I do understand how this greatly impacts those suffering under his opression and how it affects our relations with the people and government of Cuba, but I don't see any reason to beat the horse here. Everyone knows he is old and that it is only a matter of time before it's gone. I don't see the need to constantly go over and over and over every detail. He's sick, that's enough for most; let us know when he's dead, I'm sure your reporters have many other stories that they could be covering that would give me a 'warm n' fuzzy' feeling.
I still fail to understand why we have so bedeviled Castro (maybe political reasons like the Republican Cuban community?)and punished the Cuban people, not Castro, with our embargos. True, he is the last of the Communists, true he was a naughty boy and played chicken with the U.S., but that was long ago and he is now an old, defeated man who represents absolutely no harm to the U.S. Someone please meet with Raul, the brother who is more of a U.S. man, make him an offer he can't refuse (the casinos), let Castro die, whether in peace or not, and let's hear it for the Conga.
I like to know the information that you pass on to us. I am greatful for the internet and the 24-hour news broadcasting---we are a more informed society. We don't have to wait days or weeks to get the real scoop! Thank you for your hard work! it is appreciated.
Why should the report of "El Pais" be given any credibility?
The only Spanish physician who has examined Castro denied being the source of the information. The two sources cited by "El Pais" are worthless, even if the work at the same hospital because they had no access to Castro.
Furthermore, in news related to Cuba, "El Pais" has been known to be clearly biased, often using anti-Castro militants as they only source.
YEs of course I want to know what the truth about the illness of the Dictator Fidel Castro - I think it is important to the whole world. Because everyone wonders if things will change in Cuba
Castro's health is a politcal issue and not a medical issue. A world with or without Castro won't change medicine but will strongly affect foreign policies of US and numerous other countries.
Yes, it makes a difference. It allows us to understand the severity of the illness and its affect on his existence.It allows us to contemplate what changes will occur after his passing.
A public figure, whether it be an actor, politician, dictator, or the like, loose some of their privacy. It is up to that person to manage his/her own privacy and, up to the reporters and their respective management, to use common sense in reporting. It should be newsworthy and not garbage gossip.
Fidel Castro has been news for over 50 years, ever since he lead protests against Fulgencio Batista in the 50's. He is still a key figure in the political arena in Latin America; look at Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, etc. I do think it is important we follow his health condition. It may affect not only the Cuban people, but people in other countries in Latin america.
Yes, it makes a difference. It allows us to understand the severity of the illness and its affect on his existence.It allows us to contemplate what changes will occur after his passing.
Of course I want to know about Castro's health.
My family is waiting for the inevitable to happen to open a bottle of Dom Perignon I had saved for ten years for the occasion.
Diverticulitis does not cause a leak into the peritoneal cavity unless there is an associated macro perforation. Perhaps the initial problem was divertiuclitis that became complicated by C diffile (antibiotic induced colitis) or breakdown of an anastomotic site leading to spillage into the peritoneum with associated peritonitis.
I can care less about his health...It does not going to change my live either way!...There are more important things to report about.
The fact of the matter is, you are not bringing us specific details, only the most current rumor of Castro's condition. We do not know, with any absolute assurance, that this rumor is more accurate than the rumor of his cancer surgery.
You make the comment that Castro is a "very sick 80-year-old", and that should suffice on its own. Whether the man has cancer or diverticulosis or peritonitis is beside that very point. He is old and frail and obviously ill, and a diagnosis does not bring us any closer to determining how much longer he will be in this world.
In no way do I undermine your journalistic skills, or those of the staff you credit; I am actually quite an admirere of the work you do. It is only that I believe that news networks have lost sight of what actually constitutes news, and instead substitute speculation to fill time.
Once a public figure, that's what you life is, public. In the case of a world leader, where good or bad, their state of mind or, in the case of Castro, his health affects millions of people. Cuba's government as well as the United State's government would be affected. Even Cuba's economy may change. Noone knows. Once a person chooses to become a public figure, that must understand the ramifications of that decision. That is why, for many potential qualified leaders out there, that decision is never made.
I do wish him well but please let the man live out the rest of his life with privacy and dignity. People in this country should concentrate and take care of their own health and life. There is so much time spent on other people's concerns, please take care of your own business, is this was practiced;no one would ever have the time to interfere with others.
It does make a difference, especially with the Cubans living on the US side of the fence. Their dreams and expectations about returning to a free Cuba will hang, perhaps wrongly, much in the balance of Castro's health.
Dear Dr. Gupta,

Yes, it matters for CNN to present this information. Maybe it will give the Cuban government a proper example of how a free press in a free nation operates versus denominating a leader's health a "state secret". The Cuban government's repression of all aspects of life, from media, food rationing, to the denial of the right of its' citizens to travel inside and outside that country without state permission has long been excused by a few ardent admirers who have yet to move to that imprisoned island to live like a Cuban and not a foreigner or tourist.

Keep up the good work following this story!
I have an inside contact from the inner circle of the Castro brothers whom had informed me that Castro was in a coma like state back in December of 2006. I posted this information in the Miami Hearld Forum. Soon after that the spanish Doctor from Spain was call for by Fidel brother, familiy members. The report I received from Cuba was that the Doctor brougth with him life support machines in order to place Castro on life support.

Last night just prior to the news of Catro being gravely ill coming out. My contact informed me that Castro had died in the late afternoon early evening hours. My contact also informed me that the news of his death will not be released after the anniversary of his revolution of January of 1959. I was also told that the international news press in Cuba are now and will be now more then ever kept under watch and in control. The info coming out is to be on the look out for military units in the streets prior to the news of his death being release by the Cuban goverment.

I have posted in the same Miami Herald Forum the news of his death. I have tried to pass along the info to the many news agencies but no one is coming out with the news.

I can't give my contact name for his safety and that of his family. But I repeat, my contact is 100% accurate on the info. You will find out. The spanish Doctor is aware of Castro death. That is why he has come out and has spoken out of the record with the
Spanish news paper.

Again, the news is that Castro has died late afternoon, early evening hours of January 15, 2007
Just curious.. Can you compare the effort put into reporting Ariel Sharon's health condition and that of Fidel Castro?
NO. Health of public figures ,unless details are volunteered ,should remain PRIVATE. Enough is enough .
We are getting tired of too much unnecessary information and the effort of trying to be first.
Who care's about this dirt-bag's health. Let him die in his own waste. He's laid waste to an entire country.
Like you mentioned in your piece, the Cuban people don't have a clue about his health. Maybe if the people
knew, the streets of Havana would be filled with mourning of his pending death or just maybe celebration because
freedom was knocking at their door.Good Riddance one less Hitler, Stalin, Somosa, Saddam, Pinochet, we have do deal with.
Dr. Gupta,

As the daughter of a Cuban exile, I am glad to hear that you and CNN are going the extra mile to bring the exiled community important information regarding Castro's health. Thank you.
How could it possibly make a difference for me to know his condition? It seems like the Vultures are gathering!!!
As a state health worker I feel it is every person's right to have the final word over the disclosure of their medical condition(s). That's why I do not believe Politicians or Presidents should be "required" to disclose their medical conditions; but I do believe it is their duty to disclose any information, about themselves, (medical or not) that could adversely affect the outcome of the people they preside over.
All these details are speculation. None are specific, or credible about Castro's health. CNN should be very careful to state that all reports are not officially confirmed at this point.
While I don't agree with this type of coverage about celebrities I do feel that when it comes to world leaders it is pertinent information that your viewers should be made aware of. Castro's health status has political implications for the U.S. and deserves coverage on CNN. I personally appreciate your due dilligence on covering this story.
Castro is one of the worse dictator the world has know, but he is also a charistmatic figure that cover under a heavy veil of security what happen in Cuba. I think he should realize that communism is death and gave up. Cubans deserves a better life with freedom and allowed to prosper as well as thos e that leaves Cuba and go to other countries. The system in Cuba oppressed the people in everyday activities as food, health, doing business and education without the inferencia of the goverment and access to news even inside the country. I have been there and it looked like a horror movie from the 50's.
Regardless of a person's position or notoriety in the world I think it would be best to respect the privacy of that person. Personally I wouldn't want anyone discussing my "kishkehs" in the public media.
The health of a world figure such as Castro is far too important not to be reported. His death could have profound consequences in all of our hemisphere. If the media is suddenly concerned about morals, stop reporting nonsense like whether Brittany is wearing underware or not.
Yes, it is important, because Fidel Castro is an international figure. When a president like Bush, Chirac or any other fells ill, there's no secret about his health, everybody knows trough the press what's going on. Fidel Castrto is a dictator and from the cuban government only his health is state secret and nobody knows but rumors. They're buying time to keep order after his final hour, there's the only reason for such a secrecy. Telling about his right to privacy, this is preposterous, he never respect the privacy or the rights of others, specially the cuban people.
Castro's health is a legitimate international story, but I don't think the details of his illness are relevant to most consumers of news. Just because you have the capacity to gather this information doesn't mean you ought to broadcast it. It's not out of squeamishness that I say this; it's just that the core of the story is whether Castro is terminally ill (and secondarily, the cause of his illness). Medical details of the type you posted in your blog are beside the point. The only reason I can think of that CNN would want to publish these details is to demonstrate how good you are at news-gathering. Indeed, your pride in that operation is evident in your comments. That's all well and good, but it's not newsworthy.
I believe that any world leader relinquishes his or her right to privacy by entering the public eye. I also believe it's a reporters responsibility to his/her self, craft and public to find out whatever they can. I, as a reader, want to know what's going on.
I think it is important and beneficial that we have such incredible news gathering at work. The private health of a public figure, especially one whose life, actions, or passing can have international repercussions, is a public matter of great consequence. Thank you for this analysis!
When American Presidents have a physical or an ailment, the American people are told. It is formal and does not include sensational details, but the facts are provided.

That's the difference between a democratically elected head of state and a dictator.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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