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Raul Castro Says Brother Fidel's Health Improving


Acting Cuban President Raul Castro says ailing brother Fidel is improving, and that he remains involved in all government decisions.

Raul Castro told reporters at the opening of an international book fair in Havana on Thursday that his older brother is getting stronger with each passing day, and keeps up with the affairs of state by telephone, which he uses "a lot."

The younger Castro joked that "luckily" he does not receive phone calls from his older brother.

Fidel Castro has not been seen in public since turning over power to Raul last July after undergoing intestinal surgery. His health is treated as a state secret, leading to speculation that his health was failing.

Venezuela's ambassador to Cuba, Ali Rodriguez Araque, told Venezuelan state television on Thursday that Mr. Castro has begun eating again after a long period of not being able to take in solid food.

Last month, Cuba's state television broadcast images of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez meeting with Mr. Castro in Havana. It was the first image released of the 80-year-old Cuban president in three months.

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