He also showed a copy of a book by
former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, which was
published this week.
Mr. Castro, who took power on the
Caribbean island in a 1959 revolution, handed over control to
his younger brother, Raul Castro, on July 31, 2006 after
emergency intestinal surgery. He has not appeared in public
He has been seen in occasional
photographs and videos with visiting foreign leaders and has
produced a steady of columns and essays printed by state media
over the past six months.
His failure to appear on his birthday on
Aug. 13 fuelled already rampant rumours in Miami – the heartland
of exiled opposition to his near five-decade-long rule – that he
had had a major health setback, was on his deathbed or had
Television presenter Randy Alonso said
the nearly hour-long taped interview that aired on Friday
evening took place earlier in the day.
Mr. Castro's closest ally, leftist
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said on Friday his political
mentor had undergone several blood transfusions and had almost
He did not make clear if he was talking
about a recent relapse or if he was recounting complications
that Mr. Castro suffered after undergoing emergency surgery more
than a year ago.
"Fidel is well, clearly he has not
finished his recovery. He has a little problem there but he can
live like this another 100 years," Mr. Chavez told reporters
during a visit to Brazil's Amazon city of Manaus.
Senior Cuban officials said on Thursday
that the Cuban leader continues to recover from his health
crisis, but they gave no indication he would return to office.
Vice President Carlos Lage said Mr.
Castro's recovery was evident from his output of newspaper
columns and essays on international issues and political
"Fidel is recovering," Foreign Minister
Felipe Perez Roque told reporters in Havana. "It has been a
fertile period of work, reading, studying and writing, while
keeping in touch with and being involved in the country's main
decisions, on which he is consulted."