Chavez visits Castro in hospital

Three weeks ago, he was all but written off, sidelined from public view with intestinal problems leaving a very large Castro-shaped hole at the heart of Cuban government.

Three weeks ago, he was all but written off, sidelined from public view with intestinal problems leaving a very large Castro-shaped hole at the heart of Cuban government.

But last night, footage emerged from Havana which will have encouraged supporters of the revolutionary leader. Once again the visitor was Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez, and once again he found his comrade lying in a hospital bed, recovering from the abdominal surgery that some speculated would end almost 50 years in power.

But the seven-minute clip showed a more animated Mr Castro than previously. The two men sat at a table, engaging in fervent revolutionary banter.

"Brother," Mr Castro said to Mr Chávez grinning ear to ear after a hug. "This is wonderful, a million thanks (for coming)."

"Gentleman of the heroic resistance!" his visitor responded. The clip ended with both men exclaiming "On to victory always, we will win".

"It was another emotional encounter between the two revolutionary leaders, in which comrade Raul [Castro] was present, along with other leaders of our party and government," the Cuban foreign ministry said in a statement.

Mr Chávez, who last visited him on August 13 on his 80th birthday, said he had held talks with Mr Castro and his brother for more than two hours.

The specifics of Mr Castro's ailment and the nature of his surgery have been treated as a state secret, but is suspected to be intestinal surgery to stop internal bleeding.


Thair Shaikh

The GuardianTramp

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