Madrid, Spain Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is in "very grave" condition after three failed operations and complications from the intestinal infection diverticulitis, a Spanish newspaper has reported. A Cuban diplomat called the report a "lie."
In its report Tuesday, El Pais newspaper cited two unnamed medical sources from Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid.
The facility employs surgeon Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, who flew to Cuba in December to treat the 80-year-old Castro, but one of the journalists who wrote the article said Sabrido was not one of the two sources. The journalist, Oriol Guell, said the sources were both doctors at the hospital, but declined to identify them.
The El Pais article said: "A grave infection in the large intestine, at least three failed operations and various complications have left the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, laid up with a very grave prognosis."
El Pais said that in December, when Garcia Sabrido visited, Castro had an abdominal wound that was leaking more than a pint of fluid a day, causing "a severe loss of nutrients." The Cuban leader was being fed intravenously, the report said.
Sabrido, the Madrid hospital's chief surgeon, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
A Cuban diplomat in Madrid said the newspaper's report was "an invented story."
"It's another lie and we are not going to talk about it. If anyone has to talk about Castro's illness it's Havana," said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with normal diplomatic practice.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a close friend and political ally of Castro, said he had spoken with the Cuban leader a few days ago and denied that his condition was grave.
"I'm not a doctor, I'm not at the foot of Fidel's bed, but it's not like they say: neither grave, nor does he have cancer," Chavez said Tuesday in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, where he had traveled for the inauguration of leftist President Rafael Correa.