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Fidel Castro Joins Hugo Chavez's Live Broadcast by Telephone

Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro has made his first live appearance on Cuban airwaves since he became ill more than 14 months ago.

Mr. Castro spoke by telephone for about an hour on a live television show broadcast Sunday from Cuba by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Before taking Mr. Castro's phone call, Mr. Chavez played 17 minutes of video recorded Saturday during a four-hour meeting of the two leaders.

In the video, the 81-year-old Cuban leader appeared frail but seemed to be in good spirits.

Mr. Chavez's weekly program Alo Presidente was broadcast from the central city of Santa Clara, where a tomb housing the remains of revolutionary figure Ernesto "Che" Guevara is located.

The broadcast was dedicated to Guevara, who was captured and executed 40 years ago last week.

Mr. Castro underwent surgery in July of last year and handed power to his younger brother, Raul, on a provisional basis.

Fidel Castro has not been seen in public since his surgery. Details of the 81-year-old Cuban leader's health are a state secret.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.