Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said that he will travel to Havana to spend Fidel Castro's 80th birthday with the ailing Cuban leader.
"On Monday I will be with Fidel celebrating his 80th birthday," Chavez said in Caracas at a news conference after officially declaring his candidacy to seek presidential re-election in December.
"I'll take him a nice gift, a good cake, and we'll be celebrating the 80 years of this great figure of America and our history," Chavez said on Saturday.
Castro has not appeared in public since July 26, and five days later temporarily transferred power to his brother Raul, citing surgery to repair intestinal bleeding. Cuban officials have released few details about his condition.
Chavez, one of Castro's closest allies, said earlier this week that the Cuban leader was in a "great battle for life."
"Of course Fidel Castro one day will die physically like all of us," Chavez said shortly afterward at a rally celebrating his candidacy.
"But Fidel at this time in history is already one of those men, one of the extraordinary human beings who defy death before falling to it," he said. "As a solider of the revolution, I want to say that Fidel Castro is already alive in the pages of history of our peoples and there he will never die."
"Fidel, you will never die, my old friend, comrade, companion, mentor and father of all revolutionaries!" Chavez cried, as thousands of supporters below him whistled and chanted, "Long live Fidel!"