Fidel Castro makes first public appearance in 14 monthstext_fields
Havana: Former Cuban president Fidel Castro visited a school in Havana last Monday where he happened to meet up with members of a Venezuelan "Solidarity with Cuba" delegation, in what was his first public appearance in more than a year, official media reported on Saturday.
News about Castro's visit to Vilma Espin School, an educational complex built under his auspices and inaugurated by him in 2013, circulated on social networks and was reported by some media outside of Cuba over the past few days, but was not confirmed by the official local media until Saturday, when they published photos of the occasion.
In the pictures Castro is seen seated in a vehicle, wearing his usual tracksuit and cap, and waving through a window at some of the Venezuelan members of a delegation that traveled to Havana on the "Bolivar-Marti Solidarity Flight".
A group of that delegation visited the educational centre in western Havana as part of their activities when they had the "chance meeting" that lasted an hour and a half with Fidel, who was passing "very close to the new school" and decided to make a stop there, the daily Juventud Rebelde said on Saturday.
"The commander, for his part, decided to go to the school, and once there, spoke with the director of the centre and with the organisers of the Venezuelan visit," the daily said.
The Cuban leader "greeted the Venezuelans one by one without being in the slightest hurry. And he kept asking them about what is really happening in the country that gave us that tremendous friend called Hugo Chavez", the article said.
The daily noted that Castro spoke about subjects related to the Venezuelan National Assembly, the work being done with young people and the country's agriculture, and "showed special concern about the South American nation's current battle to have its sovereignty respected".
"He spoke according to his nature, which is intense, and gave the importance of time its just measure: 'It's important to work fast and pile up many signatures to send (US) President (Barack) Obama so that Venezuela stops being categorised as a threat to the security of the North American country. You have to hurry because the harmony of the world is at stake,'" Castro said according to the report.
Fidel Castro, 88, stepped down from power in 2006 because of an illness, and made his last public appearance in January 2014 when he attended the inauguration of an art studio of painter Alexis "Kcho" Leyva in a Havana neighbourhood.
Last February the leader of the Cuban revolution reappeared in some photos published in the official press that scuttled rumours about the state of his health, after which no more pictures of him were seen in more than five months.