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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 12:00 GMT
Castro 'well enough for election'
Acting Cuban President Raul Castro - 22/12/2007
Raul Castro has been acting president since July 2006
The health of Cuban President Fidel Castro is good enough for him to be a candidate in next month's parliamentary elections, his brother Raul has said.

Raul Castro said Fidel was exercising two hours daily and putting on weight.

Fidel Castro handed over power temporarily to Raul in July 2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery.

Communist leaders back Fidel Castro's decision to run for parliament, a prerequisite to remaining president, his younger brother said.

'Powerful mind'

Last week Fidel Castro, 81, indicated that he could possibly step down in favour of a younger generation.

Fidel Castro on pre-recorded TV appearance - 21/09/2007
Fidel Castro has not appeared in public since surgery last year
He has ruled Cuba since the 1959 revolution but has not appeared in public since undergoing surgery last year.

Fidel Castro has maintained a presence by writing newspaper columns and appearing in photographs and pre-recorded videos.

Now Raul Castro has said he is recovering well. He was speaking in the eastern city of Santiago where Fidel is standing in the 20 January elections.

"He has a powerful mind, a healthy mind, he's in full use of his mental faculties, and, yes, he has some little physical limitations due to the problems he had," Raul Castro said on national television.

"He does exercises for almost two hours a day, twice a day and he has greatly recovered weight and muscle mass."

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