By Jeff Franks, Reuters July 10, 2010
HAVANA, (Reuters) - Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro made his
first known public appearance since falling ill four years ago in a
visit this week to a Havana scientific facility, a blog reported on
Photographs taken with a cell phone and posted with the pro-government
blog showed a smiling Castro, 83, chatting with people said to have
gathered around him as he was leaving the National Center of Scientific
The blog and photos can be found on the Internet at:
The blogger, Rosa C. Baez, wrote that Castro was spotted making a
"surprise visit" to the center on Wednesday and stopped to greet and
"throw kisses" to the group that waited for a chance to see him.
"He is thin, but looked good and, according to our director, is very
good mentally," said Baez, whose blog appears on a website entitled
"Bloggers and Correspondents of the Revolution."
In the photos, the white-bearded Castro wore an athletic jacket, as he
has in virtually all photographs published since he went into seclusion.
Castro has been seen only in occasional photographs and videos since he
underwent emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006 and ceded power
provisionally to his younger brother, Raul Castro.
Last year, Venezuelan President and close ally Hugo Chavez said Castro
had been going for walks near his Havana residence, but they were never
confirmed by the government and there were no known photos of him out
A government spokesman said on Saturday he could not confirm Castro had
gone to the scientific center, which he created in 1965 to conduct
research in areas including natural science and medicine.
Castro, after leading the 1959 revolution that toppled a U.S.-backed
dictator, ruled Cuba for 49 years and, with his many long, televised
speeches and numerous public appearances, dominated Cuban life.
He resigned the presidency in February 2008 and Raul Castro, 79,
officially took over as president in a vote by the National Assembly.
Even though he has stayed out of sight, he has maintained a public
presence through opinion columns written for Cuba's state-run media, and
still plays a role behind the scenes.
For more than a year, his columns have dwelt almost exclusively with
international topics. He has said he was told his columns on domestic
issues were interfering with the government's work.
In the past few weeks, Castro has predicted in his columns that the
world is on the verge of nuclear war, to be sparked by conflict between
the United States and Iran over international sanctions against Iran's