Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has made a surprise
appearance at the opening of a Havana cultural centre sponsored
by one of his favourite Cuban artists.
State television broadcast images of Castro arriving at the
cultural centre in a blue van, to the applause of local
The bearded, grey-haired Cuban leader, 87, was also shown
sitting and chatting with Alexis Leyva, the painter and
sculptor known as Kcho, and others attending the opening.
A witness, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters a
stooped Castro arrived in the evening and entered the
building with the help of aides and a cane, after briefly
talking with well wishers in the Playa municipality of
The reclusive Castro was last seen in public in April 2013 at
the inauguration of a school in Havana.
Castro lives in a villa on the outskirts of Havana where he
regularly receives guests, but photos are rare and only
occasionally do his writings appear in the local media.
He is reportedly still lucid and curious.
Castro governed the Caribbean island for 48 years before
falling gravely ill in 2006 and handing power to his brother
Raul Castro, who officially became president in 2008.