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article imageFidel Castro makes first public appearance in 14 months

By Nathan Salant     Apr 6, 2015 in World
Havana - Former president Fidel Castro appeared in public last week for the first time in 14 months at a school in Havana, media in Cuba reported Friday.
The reports appear to end speculation that the longtime Communist leader was ailing or dead.
Castro, 88, greeted a group of visitors from Venezuela at a school in Havana and shook hands with many of them from inside his van, according to the official Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde.
Castro, who led the Communist revolution that topped a U.S.-backed government and took control of the island nation in 1959, had not been seen in public since his successor, younger brother Raul Castro, announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with the United States and relaxation of long-running U.S. economic sanctions in December.
The newspaper account, which included four photographs of Fidel Castro shaking hands with visitors through the van’s windows, appeared last week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Fidel Castro used his position in Cuba to form an alliance with the then-Soviet Union and promote Marxist-Leninist philosophy, including supporting the establishment of all-powerful central governments in such states in Chile, Nicaragua and Grenada, and intensifying military competition with the United States.
The 1960s-era Cuban Missile Crisis occurred after Fidel Castro allowed the Soviets to install nuclear missiles in Cuba.
But Fidel Castro had offered no comment on the momentous deal for weeks, adding to speculation about his demise.
Fidel Castro finally spoke out in January, expressing qualified support in a letter published in the Communist Party newspaper Granma, the newspaper said.
Raul Castro became Cuba's leader in 2006, but did not acquire the title officially until 2008.
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