Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Friday that 82-year-old Fidel Castro seemed "very, very good" when they met in Cuba last week.
Remarking on the former Cuban president's health for the first time since their latest meeting, Chavez said Castro was "like never before," according to a government statement.
Castro has not been seen in public since mid-2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery and ceded power to his younger brother Raul.
Venezuela's socialist leader said in a telephone call carried on state television early Friday that he met with the elder Castro twice, once for three hours on Feb. 20 and a day later for more than four hours.
Chavez said the two discussed subjects including the world financial crisis and the new government of President Barack Obama. There were no images released of the meeting with Castro, whom Chavez views as an exemplary "father" for leftists across Latin America.