Wednesday, February 4, 2015

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH: Cuba Releases First Photos of Fidel Castro in 6 Months


HAVANA – Official Cuban media released the first new photographs of former president Fidel Castro since last August.

The images, which appeared in official dailies Granma and Juventud Rebelde and on government Web site Cubadebate, are of Castro’s Jan. 23 meeting with Randy Perdomo, a student leader at the University of Havana.

Perdomo visited the 88-year-old former head of state at his home in connection with a project of the FEU students association to mark the 70th anniversary of Castro’s entering the University of Havana.

The article about their meeting, written by Perdomo, is illustrated with a score of photos showing Fidel Castro at different moments during their talk.

He appears seated, looking well, smiling in many of the photos and wearing a blue sports jacket, pants of the same color and a checked shirt.

In several of the pictures, Fidel Castro’s wife Dalia Soto del Valle is also seen.

For three hours, Castro and the student leader discussed a number of topics, including the University of Havana, scientific matters, and even the former president’s daily exercise program, Perdomo wrote in her article entitled “Fidel Is One of a Kind.”

Fidel, who ceded power to younger brother Raul Castro in July 2006 due to a grave illness, has not appeared at a public event since January 2014, and his last photos were released the following August when he was visited by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

In recent weeks, rumors about his health have been rampant due to his silence about the historic announcement made on Dec. 17 that diplomatic relations were to be restored between the United States and Cuba.

His first public statement about that development came 40 days later, on Jan. 26, in a message addressed to the FEU chapter at the University of Havana, which was read by none other than Perdomo at an event on campus.

The day after that message was delivered, Fidel Castro was visited by Brazilian theologian and intellectual Frei Betto, though no photos of their meeting have been published.

In a statement to Cuban media afterwards, Betto said that Fidel Castro is in good health and that they conversed, among other subjects, about Pope Francis, for whom the former Cuban president feels “deep admiration.”


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