Cuba releases images of Fidel Castro after six months

June 19th, 2008 - 12:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Havana, June 19 (IANS) After almost six months, Cuba’s ailing leftist leader Fidel Castro has appeared on state television. This time he was shown chatting with his younger brother and the country’s President Raul Castro, and visiting Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, EFE news agency reported Thursday. In the footage aired on Cuban state television, the 81-year-old Fidel looked healthy and was seen sitting and standing while talking to his guests. The video was without audio except for Chavez greeting his friend and ally with the slogan: “Always to victory”.

The TV images of Castro were the first since January this year, when he received Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva.

The veteran leader, who is set to turn 82 in August, last appeared in public in July 2006, just days before he delegated power to younger brother Raul Castro because of his prolonged illness. He was suffering from a serious gastrointestinal ailment.

According to a report by the Cuban state television, the Castro brothers and Chavez held “intense and productive” talks for around 90 minutes Tuesday morning.

The leaders talked about the impact of soaring global food prices and how to address what they agreed is “a strategic matter and a problem of national security”, the report said.

The three men were in accord that part of the answer lies in bilateral projects aimed at boosting agricultural production in Cuba and Venezuela, the official media said.

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