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Cuba's Castro is recovering: Chavez

The Venezuela president says that the Cuban leader is taking trips at night into the countryside and is recovering from surgery.

india Updated: Oct 28, 2006 12:23 IST

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has said that Cuban leader Fidel Castro is up and about again, taking trips at night into the countryside, as he recovers from surgery.

"He is walking around already and goes out at night to tour the countryside, towns and cities. I'm soon going to go see you, Fidel," Chavez said during a speech to cacao producers in Venezuela on Saturday.

After nearly a half-century in office, Castro temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul in July after undergoing intestinal surgery.

The Cuban government has treated his ailment as a state secret, and speculation has intensified recently that Castro may have died.

Meanwhile, Chavez, a close ally and friend of the 80- year-old leader, has taken on the role of informing the international community on Castro's health, regularly citing letters and phone calls that he says they've exchanged.