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UPDATED: 11:15, November 08, 2004
Chavez visits Cuba, Castro appears to be healthy
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Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias paid a surprising visit to Cuba and said his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro Ruz appeared to be healthy, local media reported Sunday.

Chavez arrived in Cuba on Saturday afternoon and held talks with Castro, said local newspaper Juventud Reb elde, noting Castroregarded the meeting as "the best night he has had since his accidental fall."

The 78-year-old Cuban leader fell off a step during a ceremony in the central city of Santa Clara on Oct. 20, which resulted in his broken left knee and fractured right arm.

Castro was "extraordinarily" strong, healthy and clear, Chavez told local reporters after the meeting.

The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, and Chavez informed Castro of the recent Rio Group summit which Cuba did not attend, said Juventud Rebelde.

Chavez's visit showed "a new gesture of solidarity to ask afterthe health of Fidel and continue strengthening friendly ties with the Cuban people," the news paper commented.

There are no reports on whether Chavez was still in Cuba or hadalready returned to Venezuela.

Source: Xinhua

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