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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Cuban TV shows Castro interview
Fidel Castro on Cuban TV, 5 June 2007
Fidel Castro appeared frail but reasonably fit

Cuban President Fidel Castro has appeared on TV in his first interview since undergoing surgery 10 months ago.

In the recorded interview, the 80-year-old was seen in a tracksuit and looking relatively healthy.

He commented on a meeting on Saturday with visiting Vietnamese Communist Party leader Nong Duc Manh.

Mr Castro has not been seen in public since July when he was taken ill and handed over power to his brother Raul - who is serving as acting president.

Fidel Castro appeared frail but fitter than he had in the months immediately following his surgery, says the BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Havana.

Health secret

The Cuban leader insisted his health was improving, and said he was following doctors' orders on his way to recovery.

"A human being's health is always facing threats, lurking dangers, but we've been doing all the things that needed to be done," Mr Castro said.

He looks very good, his mental capabilities can be observed throughout the entire conversation
Ismael Gonzalez de Miranda
Havana resident
"All I can tell my fellow countrymen is what I've already said, that I'm now doing what I have to do, nothing else. There's no secret. I can't put it more clearly."

The interview could be the first of many, he added.

That could be an indication of the role he expects to take in Cuba for the foreseeable future, our correspondent adds.

The president's health is kept confidential, but he is widely assumed to be suffering from diverticulitis, a weakening of the intestine.

On the streets of Havana some were encouraged by the sight of their president.

"He looks very good, his mental capabilities can be observed throughout the entire conversation - they are effective, like they always have been, despite his health problems," said one man, Ismael Gonzalez de Miranda.

Cuban officials say that Mr Castro is well on the way to total recovery but there is no word on whether he might resume his normal duties.

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