News Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, talks with Spanish journalist, writer and former editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, Ignacio Ramonet in Havana, Cuba

Fidel Castro was “healthy and alert” during a two-hour discussion about current affairs last week, a Spanish journalist told the Associated Press on Monday.

Hugo Chavez's last words: 'I don’t want to die'

Hugo Chavez expressed his desire to live, and his love of Venezuela, shortly before dying of a massive heart attack, the head of the country’s presidential guard has claimed.

Chavez’s coffin was paraded through the streets of Caracas

'We are all Hugo Chavez': supporters gather to pay tribute to Venezuela's dead President

Emotional crowds lined the streets of Caracas to watch el Comandante's coffin pass

Hugo Chavez and Sean Penn

Hollywood stars pay tribute to late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez

America and Venezuela have not been the best of friends lately but Hollywood stars have been quick to pay tribute to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who died of cancer last night aged 58.

Review: Comandante: Inside Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, By Rory Carroll

The presidential strongman with all bases covered

Newly appointed Cuba's Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel participates in the closure session of the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba

Miguel Diaz-Canel: Castro's chosen successor is integral figure in Cuban party machine but can he win over man in street?

When the Cuban delegation arrived for the London Olympics last summer, no one paid very much attention to the mid-level government official with thick silver hair who was leading it. Miguel Diaz-Canel was not Raul Castro, after all, and most of the rest of the world had barely heard of him. So why get overly excited? Now we know why Diaz-Canel, 52, was chosen for the task and why just a few weeks earlier he accompanied Raul to the Rio plus 20 Summit on global warming in Brazil. He was being deliberately groomed as the man the Castro brothers had judged to be the best option to take over when finally they cede control to a new generation. 

Rafael Correa looks set to secure third term in Ecuador

Voters were on the way yesterday to handing a third term to President Rafael Correa, an economist who has raised living standards for the lower classes and widened their social safety net while being widely criticised as intolerant of dissent.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez 'in good spirits' in Cuba

Venezuela’s top diplomat has said he shared jokes and laughed with President Hugo Chavez during a meeting in Cuba, where the socialist leader has been recovering after cancer surgery.

Venezuelans full of energy invade the streets close to the Venezuelan Consulate in London, where they cast their vote for the presidential elections

Decision time for Venezuela as Capriles faces down Chavez

Venezuelans are today voting in what is predicted to be the country's closest presidential election in a decade.

The Dougherty crime spree was reminiscent of 'Bonnie and Clyde'

Winckler's Wacky World: Bonnie and Clyde bonanza

Guns for auction, an interesting diplomatic gift, the global nappy shortage, Jiminy Cricket's B.O. problem and the first intergalactic art

Fire extinguished at Venezuela's Amuay refinery

Venezuelan state television said today that all fires had been extinguished at Venezuela's biggest oil refinery after raging for more than three days.

Kolya Lukashenko, flanked by Venezuela's leader Hugo Chavez and his father, President Alexander Lukashenko, in Caracas this week

Who's that boy in the grey suit? It's Kolya Lukashenko - the next dictator of Belarus...

Seven-year-old, illigitimate son named by Lukashenko as leader in waiting

President Raul Castro’s wide-ranging reforms have brought new hope to Cubans whose economic aspirations were shackled for 50 years by the US-led embargo

Younger Castro steers Cuba to a new revolution

Oil, foreign investment, free enterprise, and golf courses are on their way

Antonio Vazquez, Mexico's self-styled 'Grand Warlock,' predicts that the Barack Obama will fail to regain the White House

Mexican Warlock spells end for Obama

Antonio Vazquez, Mexico's self-styled "Grand Warlock", has made his annual new year forecasts, including the prediction that the US President Barack Obama will fail to regain the White House.

Lord Bell:

Bell Pottinger head launches investigation over lobbyists

The chairman of Bell Pottinger's parent group has launched an internal investigation after this week's controversy about the lobbying company.

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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
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Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness