Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in months, a top hotel executive told The Associated Press on Sunday, challenging persistent rumours that the aging revolutionary is near death.
The 86-year-old retired leader dropped off a Venezuelan guest at the Hotel Nacional on Saturday afternoon, then stayed to chat with hotel staff, commercial director Yamila Fuster said.
"Fidel Castro was here yesterday (Saturday), he brought a guest and spoke to workers and hotel leaders for 30 minutes," Fuster said. She said she was not present but that the news was being released officially by the state-owned establishment.
"They told me he looked very good. He was wearing a checked shirt and a hat," she said.
Fuster would not release the name of the Venezuelan guest, but witnesses at the hotel say former Venezuelan Vice-President Elias Jaua is staying there. A car with Venezuelan diplomatic plates was parked Sunday outside the hotel, and Cuban officials were seen carrying a photo album similar to ones the government gives as gifts to distinguished guests, normally filled with official pictures.