Fidel Castro makes first appearance in four years
Dressed in sports clothes, Fidel Castro, 83 years old, visited the National Center for Scientific Investigations, which has reached 45 years of its establishment, according to the official website cubadebate.cu, which published including photos of the visit, made by Alex Castro, Fidel’s son and group pictures.
Former Cuban president seems weak but in good shape, about to talk with employees.”Naturally, when news emerged that Fidel is there, staff came to greet him with spontaneity and affection, which Fidel replied with words of gratitude,” writes cubadebate.cu.
“I was honored that Fidel made a surprise visit to the center and I said goodbye when he left (…) He seems weak but in good shape and according to our directory, he looks mentally good, the Rosa Baez told on the blogger site “bloggers and journalists Revolution”, which also published photographs taken with a cell phone.
One of the most important persons for the Cuban Revolution of 1959 he transferred power to his brother Raul in July 2006, after he was seriously ill. He has not officially come out in public, but continues to receive from time to time persons at his home in Havana.
He regularly publishes his “reflections” about the current situation in the local press.
President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, published in December photos of Fidel Castro’s visit to the house where he lived during the summit in Latin America.
Castro was also seen in February by several persons while walking on foot accompanied by his body guards near his residence on the outskirts of the capital. This ride was announced by Venezuelan president, a friend of Castro, Hugo Chavez.
News of the visit first came out on a pro-government blog, where photographs taken with a cell phone were posted of Castro greeting admirers as he left the center.
The blog can be found on the Internet at: (http://bloguerosrevolucion.ning.com/profiles/blogs/fidel-visito-el-centro)
The blogger, Rosa C. Baez, wrote that Castro was spotted making a “surprise visit” to the center on Wednesday and stopped to greet and “throw kisses” to the group that waited for a chance to see him.
“He is thin, but looked good and, according to our director, is very good mentally,” said Baez, whose blog appears on a website entitled “Bloggers and Correspondents of the Revolution.”
In the photos, the white-bearded Castro wore an athletic jacket, as he has in virtually all photographs published since he went into seclusion.
Castro has been seen only in occasional photographs and videos since he underwent emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006 and ceded power provisionally to his younger brother, Raul Castro.
His first public appearance in years comes as Cuba is preparing to release 52 political prisoners, all jailed in a crackdown on the opposition in 2003 while Castro was still in power.
The visit to the scientific center celebrated the 45th anniversary of the center’s creation in July 1965, the story on www.cubadebate.cu said.
Last year, Venezuelan President and close ally Hugo Chavez said Castro had been going for walks near his Havana residence, but they were never confirmed by the government and there were no known photos of him out and about.
Castro, after leading the 1959 revolution that toppled a U.S.-backed dictator, ruled Cuba for 49 years and, with his many long, televised speeches and numerous public appearances, dominated Cuban life.
He resigned the presidency in February 2008 and Raul Castro, 79, officially took over as president in a vote by the National Assembly.
Even though he has stayed out of sight, he has maintained a public presence through opinion columns written for Cuba’s state-run media, and still plays a role behind the scenes.
For more than a year, his columns have dwelt almost exclusively with international topics. He has said he was told his columns on domestic issues were interfering with the government’s work.
In the past few weeks, Castro has predicted in his columns that the world is on the verge of nuclear war, to be sparked by conflict between the United States and Iran over international sanctions against Iran’s nuclear activities.11