Remarkable photos from Castro’s first public appearance in months

Communist revolutionary and five-decade dictator of Cuba Fidel Castro has not been very active since retiring in 2008, at the young-at-heart age of 81. Now 87 and thought to be in poor health, he appears very rarely in public. Most notably, in 2010, he conducted a series of interviews with the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg in which he said many surprising and odd things. Not long after that, he more or less disappeared from the public eye. The last time he was seen by the world was April 2013, when he went to a school opening; he reportedly met privately with Venezuela's new president in December.

Now, Castro has made his first public appearance in nine months, showing up at an art opening in Havana. (Havana is said to have a fantastic art scene; some great examples here.) Photos from official Cuban sources are below; some of them are screengrabs, hence the image quality. Castro does not look great; he is clearly frail and appears to require substantial assistance to walk through the gallery.


Still from a video of Castro at the gallery. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

His advanced age is a reminder that he was around, and playing a major geopolitical role, as far back as the Kennedy administration.


Still grab from a video showing Castro and wife Dalia Soto at the gallery inauguration. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Castro's age is also a reminder that he still plays a symbolic role in the U.S.-Cuba relationship; while President Obama has incrementally opened up trade, Cuban American exiles who remember Castro's brutality are a key constituency opposing normalized relations.


Still from a video of Castro at the gallery. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

And here, as a bonus, is Castro admiring one of the artworks at the gallery. It's pretty cool:


Handout photo released by Cuban official Web site of Castro at the inauguration of the nonprofit cultural center Kcho Romerillo, Laboratory for Art in Havana. (AFP/Cuba Debate)

Here's video footage from his appearance:

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Max Fisher · January 9, 2014