CARACAS (Reuters) – Cuba’s ailing former leader Fidel Castro, not seen in public for almost three years, appeared on the streets of Havana and people cried when they recognized him, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said yesterday.
Chavez, a close friend of the legendary revolutionary, spent several hours with Castro in Cuba last weekend and said he was in his best health since falling ill in July 2006.
Chavez’ account of the walkabout, and other reports from visiting foreign leaders in recent weeks may indicate an improvement in Castro’s health.
“Fidel went out and they saw him, Fidel walking in the streets in Havana, a miracle, the people cried,” Chavez said during a service to commemorate a massacre in Venezuela,
“Of course he planned it so there would be no record of it. But there are some photos I have seen. I consider myself privileged,” Chavez said.
He did not say when Castro went out on the streets.
Castro, 82, has not appeared at any public event since being operated on for an undisclosed intestinal problem in July 2006, even missing the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution in January.
He was formally replaced by his younger brother, Raul Castro, as president of the communist-run Caribbean island last year. Raul Castro had been provisionally in charge since Fidel Castro fell ill.