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  • Submitted by: lena campos
  • 01 / 31 / 2014

Fidel Castro, the 87-year-old father of the Cuban revolution, held court on the sidelines of a regional summit here this week, looking alert and well in his numerous meetings with foreign leaders.

Besides his traditional political friends, the Maximum Leader also received UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the first time and young Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Ban said Castro looked physically very well and “mentally alert,” with a strong voice and clear ideas.

They discussed a “vast range” of international issues and “conflict situations like Syria,” Ban said after the meeting on Tuesday. The official Communist Party newspaper Granma said Castro “evoked the historic ties that unite Cuba and Mexico” in his meeting with Pena Nieto.
It was as an exile in Mexico that Castro launched his guerrilla campaign to topple dictator Fulgencio Batista, setting out from Veracruz in 1956 with a small band of men on a dilapidated yacht called Granma.

Pena Nieto was in Havana for a summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders, which ended Wednesday, but is now on a state visit.

Granma said Pena Nieto called for strengthening relations between the two countries.
In recent days, Fidel has also had lunch with Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner and welcomed a long list of regional allies here for the summit of the two-year-old Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, an initiative of Fidel’s protege, the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

No video images of the meetings were aired, but numerous photographs taken by Cuba’s official media showed him looking old but mentally engaged.


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