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Cuba Releases New Pictures of Castro

Cuban authorities have released new photographs of ailing leader Fidel Castro, who met Tuesday in Havana with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The photographs show a smiling Mr. Castro dressed in what has become a trademark track suit and athletic shoes. The pictures of Mr. Castro are the first to be released in several months.

The 81-year-old Mr. Castro has not been seen in public since undergoing intestinal surgery in July, 2006, when he provisionally turned power over to his younger brother, Raul.

Earlier Tuesday, Mr. da Silva signed a deal offering Cuba millions of dollars in food and financial aid in exchange for the rights to explore oil off the Cuban coast.

Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico are believed to hold large crude oil deposits. Several foreign oil companies have already made exploration deals with Cuba.

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