Although Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva would apparently disagree, 81-year-old Cuban President Fidel Castro says he’s not well enough to appear in public to speak to Cubans during the lead-up to Sunday’s parliamentary elections, but he is still able to express himself through writing.

AP via

“I am not physically able to speak directly to the citizens of the municipality where I was nominated for our elections next Sunday,” the ailing 81-year-old wrote in an essay published Wednesday by state news media.

Castro’s latest essay focused on blasting U.S. President George W. Bush, but included references to the Cuban leader’s health.

It was published on the front pages of state-run newspapers a day after Castro met for more than two hours with Brazilian President Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who said he thought Castro appeared healthy enough to return to politics.

“I think Fidel is ready to take over his historic political role in this globalized world, in humanity,” Silva told reporters as he left Cuba late Tuesday.

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