Hugo Chavez visits Fidel Castro

The official Granma newspaper published the six photos on its online edition, one day after the Communist Youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde published the first images of Castro seen since two weeks ago when the leader, now 80, had announced he had undergone intestinal surgery and was temporarily ceding powers to Raul, the defense minister and No. 2 in the government.

The visit came the same day that Castro issued a statement to the Cuban people, warning them that he faces a long and difficult recovery after his surgery.

In all of the pictures, Castro is in bed, wearing what looks like a red sweat shirt. In a seventh photo, Raul Castro is shown embracing Chavez when he arrived in Havana on Sunday afternoon to pay a visit to the ailing leader, the AP reports.

The newspaper quoted Chavez as saying, "This is the best visit I've ever had in my life." Expressing surprise at his recovery, Chavez reportedly commented: "What kind of human being is this? What material is it made of?

It was the first report in Cuban media about the visit. Venezuela's state news service ABN on Sunday reported that Chavez had met with Castro Sunday afternoon and gave him a dagger and a coffee cup that had belonged to South American independence fighter Simon Bolivar.

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