Ageing former Cuban President Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance at art studio

The 87-year-old made his first public outing in nine months

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The Independent US

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has made his first public appearance in nine months.

The 87-year-old was present at the opening of the Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana.

Cuban media reported that the grey-haired former revolutionary attended the event and was accompanied by artist Alexis Leyva, who is shown in photos leaning in to speaking to Mr Castro.

The former leader last appeared in public on 9 April 2013 to attend the opening of a Havana school. In December, he had a private meeting with key Cuban ally President Nicolas Maduro  of Venezuela.

Mr Castro was the President of Cuba for almost half a century before he became seriously ill in July 2006.

His brother Raul formally became President in 2008. He has since been easing in a new economic plan aimed at promoting free-market reforms.

In early January, new regulations were introduced that allowed people in Cuba to buy modern cars from state-owned retailers for the first time since the 1950s.

Only the wealthiest Cubans have benefited so far as the state has kept its monopoly on new car sales and marked up prices by over 400 per cent.

However, Raul Castro’s Government claims a slice of the profits from sales will be put to improving the Latin American country’s public transport system.

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