News ID: 114829
Published: 0406 GMT April 05, 2015

Fidel Castro in rare public view

Fidel Castro in rare public view

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro has reportedly made his first public appearance after 14 months in images released by Cuban media showing him shaking hands with a group of Venezuelan visitors.

Cuban state media released four images of the 88-year-old Castro on Saturday while meeting with the Venezuelans, who were on a solidarity mission to the Caribbean island. He was last seen in public in January 2014 at the inauguration of an artist's studio, Press TV said.

In his remarks to the visitors, Castro was cited as calling on people to write to US President Barack Obama to stop labeling Venezuela as a threat to the United States.

The "chance meeting," took place on March 30 at a primary school in the capital Havana, where the 33 Venezuelans were visiting when Castro arrived.

La Radio del Sur, a Venezuelan radio station that first reported Castro's appearance, stated that he met with the visitors for nearly 30 minutes and also talked to them about moringa, a plant with medicinal qualities that the former leader is cultivating at his Havana residence.

According to an AP report, in February and March of this year, official Cuban media published photographs of Castro taken during private meetings with a Cuban student leader, with former Cuban captives that were freed from US prisons in December, and with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela is one of Cuba's closest allies and reportedly ships tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day to the nation in exchange for Cuban doctors, soldiers, and sports trainers.

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