Ailing leader Fidel Castro saluted Cubans on Saturday in a text released on the eve of the revolution's 48th anniversary, thanking them for their support during his illness and telling them he had not lost his battle to recover. "I am grateful to you for your affection and support," read the message. "Regarding my recovery, I have always warned that it could be a prolonged process, but it is far from being a lost battle. I collaborate as a disciplined patient, attended by the consecrated team of our doctors. "I have not stopped being in the loop on main events and information," he added. "I have had exchanges with our closest comrades always when cooperation has been necessary on vitally important issues."