Havana, Cuba — Cuba's vice president said Sunday Fidel Castro would return to work in a few weeks after intestinal surgery that forced him to hand over power temporarily to his younger brother.
"Fidel's going to be around for another 80 years," Vice President Carlos Lage said. Castro turns 80 next Sunday.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Castro was out of bed and talking following his surgery as messages wishing the Cuban leader a quick recovery poured in from Latin America's leading leftists and Elian Gonzalez.
Lage, in Bolivia to attend the country's constitutional assembly, was asked by reporters when Castro would be back at work. "In a few weeks, he'll be recovered and he'll return to his duties," Lage said.
Lage had earlier denied reports Castro had stomach cancer and reiterated Sunday the Cuban leader was recovering well.
Cuban officials have provided no details and released no pictures of Castro since his surgery was announced last Monday - fueling speculation around the world about his condition. His brother Raul Castro, the defense minister, also has not been seen in public since the announcement.