New photos of Castro, with main ally at bedside

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New photos of Castro, with main ally at bedside

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A second set of pictures has been published of the ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro. This time he is seen receiving an 80th birthday visit from his close ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The pair shared gifts, anecdotes, laughter and a frugal snack, according to Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper.

Coming after a previous set of photographs, published on Sunday, the fresh images have reassured many on the island that their veteran president is on the mend.

“I see a strong recovery and he is in good spirits,” said Havana resident Miguel Villareal.

“He is recovering. He is recovering,” added street sweeper Roberto Zaldivar.

“And we will have a Comandante for a long time to come.”

A special birthday concert was held in Havana at the weekend for Castro, who temporarily ceded power to his younger brother on July 31 due to stomach surgery. Although mystery still surrounds his condition, he has told Cubans to be optimistic but, at the same time, to always be prepared to receive bad news.