Cuba's Fidel Castro 'makes first public appearance in months'
FIDEL Castro has apparently appeared in public for the first time since March, challenging persistent rumours that the ageing revolutionary is near death.
Venezuela's former vice president, Elias Jaua, showed reporters this photograph of the 86-year-old retired Cuban president on Sunday, stating that the pair had held a five-hour meeting.
Mr Castro then apparently personally accompanied Mr Jaua to the Hotel Nacional after their meeting on Saturday. He was reportedly in a modified Mercedes gray van and did not leave the vehicle.
"He had the courtesy of bringing me to the hotel," Mr Jaua said, adding that Castro looked "very well".
The hotel's general manager, Antonio Martinez, who was also in the picture said: "Yes, he was here yesterday, the same old Fidel with his beard and pink cheeks. He was fine."
Mr Castro's health has been the subject of intense speculation for years, but the rumours gained force in recent days after he failed to publicly congratulate his ally Hugo Chavez on his Oct 7 Venezuelan electoral victory.
He has also ceased writing his once-constant opinion pieces, the last of which appeared in June.
Barney Henderson, Telegraph.co.uk