Fidel Castro poses with Argentina's Kirchner

Argentina President Kristina Kirchner released a photo showing her standing next to the Cuban leader during her first official visit to Cuba on Wednesday. Castro had remained largely unseen since undergoing intestinal surgery in February 2008.


The first photos in two months of ailing Cuban former leader Fidel Castro, showing him meeting Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, were released Friday by Kirchner's office.

The images, the first known pictures of Castro released since November 18 last year, show him standing next to Kirchner. They were handed to the Argentine leader by Cuban officials Thursday night at a dinner in Caracas hosted by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, her office said.

Kirchner was "touched by the gesture and immediately showed the photos to other guests," according Kirchner's spokesman Miguel Nunez, quoted by Argentina's government news agency Telam.

Kirchner, on her first visit to island, said Castro seemed healthy during the half-hour meeting. "We chatted about the international situation," the Argentine leader told Telam.

Castro, 82, is the father of Cuba's revolution and was the island nation's leader for almost five decades until ceding power to his younger brother Raul, 77, after undergoing major intestinal surgery in July 2006.

Though unseen in public since then, Fidel Castro has remained influential by writing editorials in official state media.

Speculation over Castro's health has recently been front-page news in Miami, home to the bulk of the Cuban-American community.

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