Fidel Castro makes rare TV appearance

Monday, July 12, 2010

HAVANA - Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro appeared to be in stabile health and good spirits during a rare interview broadcast late Monday on Cuban television.

The 83-year-old spoke lucidly and at length, sitting in an office in front of a table full of papers. He answered questions about the Middle East and other international affairs from the host of Cuban television programme Mesa Redonda, or Round Table.

Castro wore a gray-blue training jacket.

The interview was the first new video footage of him since summer 2009.

Over the weekend, Cuban media published photographs of a visit from the elderly Castro to the Cuban National Centre for Scientific Research (CNIC) last week.

It was his first public appearance since July 26, 2006.

In the latest interview, Castro heaped criticism on the United States, his nemesis for half a century.

He warned of a possible war to be waged by the United States against Iran, which Western powers have accused of seeking nuclear weapons capability.

Castro suggested that Washington was behind the mysterious destruction of the South Korean corvette Cheonan, which exploded and sank March 26 near the disputed maritime border between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea, killing all 46 crew members.

An investigation by an international team found that the explosion that sank the ship was caused by a North Korean-made torpedo. North Korea’s reclusive communist regime has denied any involvement.

Castro said that the United States was trying to respark hostilities between the two Koreas.

The Cuban leader relinquished power after falling ill in July 2006 and officially retired in 2008, handing power to his brother and long-time deputy, Raul Castro. Fidel has continued to voice his opinions, penning lengthy articles in Communist Party newspaper Granma and other Cuban government publications.

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