Fidel Castro meets with cheese experts in rare appearance, state media reports

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro visits 19 cheese masters on Friday, July 3, in a rare public appearance.

Story highlights

  • Former Cuban President Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance, according to state media
  • Photos and video show him meeting with cheese experts at a food research institute

(CNN)It's rare for Fidel Castro to appear in public. But the 88-year-old former Cuban President recently said cheese -- literally -- as state media cameras snapped his photo.

State media published video and photos Friday of Castro, describing him discussing food production and climate change at a meeting with cheese masters at the Food Industry Research Institute.
    The rare public appearance -- Castro's first in three months -- came just a few days after Cuba and the United States announced they were restoring diplomatic relations.
    In 2008, Raul Castro officially succeeded his brother as President. Fidel Castro provisionally handed over power to him in 2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery.
    In April, Cuban state media released images of Fidel Castro meeting with a group of Venezuelans visiting the island, describing the ailing former leader as "full of vitality." That appearance had been his first in more than a year.
    Fidel Castro hasn't said much publicly about his thoughts on the normalization of his country's relationship with the United States.
    In December, his niece told CNN that the former President must have had a role in the decision-making process that led to the historic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuba relations.
    A letter purportedly from Castro and published in state media in January said he endorsed the talks to restore diplomatic relations but still "didn't trust" U.S. officials.