Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance

Updated: 2014-01-10 07:47


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HAVANA - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance at the opening of an art studio in the Cuban capital of Havana, local media reported Thursday.

Castro, 87, arrived "a little past nine o'clock at night" Wednesday and "greeted artists and residents who received him with applause," said the official daily Granma, which also published a accompanying photo of the statesman with gray hair.

The former Cuban leader toured the gallery, perusing the sculptures and paintings on display, including works by painter Wifredo Lam.

Also on hand was Havana historian Eusebio Leal, who helped to unveil the plaque marking the inauguration of the studio, which aims to serve as a venue for "the experimentation, development (and) promotion of the arts and human understanding," according to the plaque.

The opening coincided with the 55th anniversary of Castro's triumphant return to Havana, the Cuban capital, at the helm of the Rebel Army, after having toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista (1952- 59).

Castro has remained mostly out of the public since in 2006 when he suffered from a serious intestinal disease. In December, he also met privately with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and pictures of the encounter were published by local media.

Castro was officially succeeded by his younger brother Raul Castro in 2008.