Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has visited Cuba for a lunch meeting with his ailing mentor, President Fidel Castro.

President Chavez arrived Wednesday on his trip that will include attending an oil summit later in the week. The visit comes two days after President Castro released a letter hinting at retirement from the Cuban leadership. In the letter, read on Cuban state television Monday, Mr. Castro said he would not obstruct the rise of a new generation of leaders.

It was the first suggestion from the 81-year-old Castro that he might step down permanently from the presidency. He handed power to his younger brother, Raul Castro, in July 2006 due to intestinal surgery, but said the move was temporary.

Fidel Castro officially remains head of the government.

The Cuban leader has not been seen in public since the surgery but has appeared in photographs and videos and is regularly credited with essays on international themes. The Cuban leader seized power in a 1959 revolution. Details of his health are a state secret.

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