Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro has appeared on television for the first time in more than a year.In what was said to be recent footage, the 83-year-old looked healthy and alert. Castro has rarely been seen since falling ill and handing over power three years ago. But Sunday’s broadcast showed him with some Venezuelan law students discussing, among other things, the upcoming climate conference in Copenhagen. And another new picture of the veteran revolutionary appeared in the Communist Rebel Youth newspaper. It claims to show Castro meeting the Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa last Friday. One Cuban said: “I think he looks good given his age. We pray to God to give him another 83 years so he can pursue his vision of the future which is so important to us.” Another added:“I’m so happy to see him looking so well. He seems healthy and, God willing, he’ll last many more years.” Castro remains the most influential figure in Cuba, and writes a regular newspaper column, called Reflections, with comments on world events. He lives with his wife on the outskirts of Havana, and insists he will defend Cuba’s Communist revolution to his dying day.