Posted: 02 September 2006 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Joined  2006-03-20

HAVANA (Reuters) -

A clearly recovering Cuban President Fidel Castro was shown on television on Friday meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and brother Raul Castro, to whom he temporarily ceded power a month ago to have abdominal surgery.

The video should put to rest rumors Castro was near death and out of public life for good after ruling the Caribbean island for more than 47 years.

The seven-minute clip first showed a smiling, if gray, Castro in bed receiving Chavez and two little girls on Friday morning.

“Brother,” Castro said to Chavez grinning ear to ear after a hug. “This is wonderful, a million thanks (for coming).”

The clip then showed the two men sitting at a table in what appeared to be a hospital room having a lively discussion of international affairs.

Castro, in red pajamas, looked much stronger than when he was last seen in a video on August 13, when Chavez visited him to celebrate his 80th birthday. Then, a frail Castro was shown in bed and covered with a blanket.

The clip ends with both men exclaiming “on to victory always, we will win.”

Castro temporarily handed over power to his younger brother and Defense Minister Raul Castro July 31 to undergo surgery for intestinal bleeding.

“This morning we talked for two hours. We analyzed the international situation with Raul Castro,” said Chavez, a self-described revolutionary at odds with Washington, upon his return to Caracas.

Venezuela, the world’s No. 5 oil exporter, has helped Cuba resist a U.S. embargo by supplying Castro with 90,000 barrels per day of petroleum on preferential terms and paying for thousands of Cuban doctors and other professionals working in Venezuela.

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And here some pics from Juventud Rebelde :

Pics from Juventud Rebelde :