HAVANA -- Cuban leader Fidel Castro, looking notably better than he did when last seen almost three weeks ago, happily greeted President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela during a brief visit aired on state television yesterday.
``Brother!" the 80-year-old Castro said from his sickbed, his face lighting up as Chavez entered the room where he was recuperating, and gave him a warm embrace.
``Gentleman of the heroic resistance!" the Venezuelan president responded with a smile to his friend and ally.
It was Chavez's third visit to Castro since the Cuban leader announced on July 31 that he had undergone intestinal surgery and was provisionally ceding power to his brother, Raul Castro, the defense minister.
The specifics of Castro's ailment have been treated as a state secret.
Castro appeared much more animated and alert on the video than in those made when Chavez made his first post-surgery visit to the Cuban leader on Aug. 13.
Chavez stopped in Cuba on his way back to Venezuela after a tour of China, Malaysia, Syria, and Angola.