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Castro ill rumours quashed by pictures

FORMER Venezuelan vice president Elias Jaua said that he met with ageing revolutionary Fidel Castro for five hours and showed photos of the encounter, quashing rumours that the former Cuban leader was on his deathbed or had suffered a massive stroke.

Mr Jaua also confirmed that the 86-year-old retired Cuban president personally accompanied him to the Hotel Nacional after their meeting on Saturday.

Mr Jaua showed a photograph of himself along with the former Cuban leader, Castro's wife, Dalia Soto del Valle, a hotel executive and several other people. The photo shows Mr Jaua and Mr Castro smiling, and the former Cuban leader is wearing a checked shirt and cowboy hat.

The public appearance was Mr Castro's first in months.