Havana: Cuban television showed the first images of Fidel Castro in almost six months, broadcasting a silent video of the ailing revolutionary chatting in a garden with visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The 81-year-old Castro looked thinner, and his hair and beard appeared much whiter, in the new video shown, which did not include audio. But he nevertheless looked vigorous and animated as he talked with Chavez and younger brother Raul Castro. He wore in a white track-suit jacket with red and blue trim.
The green of trees could be seen all around the trio in the video, but it was impossible to determine exactly where the meeting took place.
It was the second meeting in as many days between the elder Castro and Chavez, who are close friends.
Chavez told reporters about the meeting before boarding a flight back to Venezuela.
"With Fidel, we conversed nearly three hours yesterday, and almost two hours more today, walking in a garden," Chavez told reporters in images broadcast on Venezuelan state television.
"We were revising the entire plan for energy exchanges and the strengthening of refinery capacity and production of petroleum and petrochemicals." The two countries are collaborating on a major petroleum refinery and petrochemical plant in the eastern Cuban port city of Cienfuegos.
Chavez said he and the 81-year-old former Cuban president also discussed the need for both countries to produce their own food, using as little land as possible.
However, no details about Castro's state of health were mentioned in reports on either meeting.
Castro has not been seen in public since he fell ill nearly two years ago.