Saturday, September 02, 2006

Castro stronger in new video


The footage refutes theories that Castro is dead

Aljazeera

Saturday 02 September 2006, 4:54 Makka Time, 1:54 GMT

Cuban television has shown Fidel Castro, Cuba's president, meeting Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, a month after he withdrew from public life to undergo abdominal surgery.

The video aims to refute rumours that Castro is near death and that his 47 year rule over the Caribbean island of Cuba is drawing to an close.

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

"Brother," Castro said to Chavez grinning ear to ear after a hug.

"Gentleman of the heroic resistance!" the Venezuelan president responded.

"What joy!" Castro said after sitting up. "A million thanks!"

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.

On his return to Caracas, the Venezuelan president, described the meeting: "This morning we talked for two hours. We analyzed the international situation with Raul Castro."

The video was apparently made on Friday morning when Chavez made a brief and unscheduled stopover on his way to Venezuela from a tour that included China and Syria.

Castro stronger

In Friday's video, Castro, in red pyjamas, 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-looking Castro was shown in bed and covered with a blanket.

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

Castro temporarily handed over power to Raul Castro, Cuba's defence minister, on July 31 to undergo surgery for intestinal bleeding.

Agencies

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