HAVANA, Oct. 21(Xinhua) -- Cuban former leader Fidel Castro met Saturday with former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua, who is paying a working visit to Cuba.
Jaua said Sunday he had a five-hour meeting with Fidel in Havana, quashing persistent rumors the aging revolutionary was gravely ill.
Speaking to reporters in Havana, Jaua said he and Fidel Castro "spoke about agriculture, history, current international events," and that the former leader was "very well."
Castro even accompanied Jaua back to the storied Hotel Nacional, where the two spoke and took pictures with several hotel staff members and executives.
Jaua, who is running for governor of Venezuela's Miranda state, showed reporters a photo of a smiling Castro, seated in his car, dressed in a checkered shirt and straw hat, surrounded by various people, including the Venezuelan politician.
"The comandante is well, with very high spirits and coherency," said hotel General Manager Antonio Martinez, who also appears in the group photo.
Castro, 86, has not appeared in public since Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba last March, and his absence from public life fueled online chatter that he had suffered a heart attack and was bed ridden.
Earlier this month, his son Alex Castro told Cuban news media his father was well, and spending his time reading and exercising per doctors orders.
Fidel Castro led Cuba for nearly half a century, taking power in 1959 after leading a revolution to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista and stepping down in 2006 to hand over the reigns of government to his younger brother Raul, after suffering a serious illness.