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Castro on Cuban TV with Vietnamese official

Story Highlights

• Fidel Castro shown on Cuban TV for first time in four months
• Castro met with Vietnam's Communist Party chief
• Cuban leader has not appeared in public since handing over power last July
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HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- For the first time in four months, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was shown standing and talking in video footage that aired on state-run Cuban TV.

Castro, 80, was seen early Sunday laughing, smiling and standing without assistance in an apparent meeting with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh.

Castro has not appeared in public since emergency surgery forced him to hand over power 10 months ago to his brother Raul Castro.

While Castro's recovery has been evident in an increasing number of editorials published in Cuban newspapers, he has not shown signs of resuming his power over the communist island. (Watch Castro stand, chat with visitor Video)

In the past 10 months, Castro has appeared in numerous videos and photos wearing track suits. In keeping with his previous appearances, during Sunday's televised appearance he donned a red and black track suit with white piping -- a sign that he was not meeting with Manh in any formal, official capacity. (Watch Castro demonstrate his vitality for the public Video)

"If he were to resume power he would be wearing an olive green uniform," CNN's Shasta Darlington in Havana reported. "Since he handed power July 31 last year to Raul, we have only seen him in track suits."

Castro relinquished his presidential powers to his brother after undergoing intestinal surgery, calling the move temporary. The switch touched off a flurry of speculation that the communist leader, who came to power in 1959, might be dying.

Although Sunday was the first time in months he has been seen in a televised encounter, it is not the first time he has spoken to the public.

In recent weeks, Castro has penned numerous editorials, many of them on the topic of ethanol.

On May 24, Castro wrote a message published in Cuban newspapers discussing his recent health problems. The message detailed that he has undergone several operations, some of which were unsuccessful, but that his condition has now stabilized.


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