Fidel Castro Makes a Rare Appearance in Public

Image: Fidel Castro Makes a Rare Appearance in Public (AP) Fidel Castro, now 87, made his first public appearance in nine months.

Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 06:00 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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He looks so harmless. And yet he's former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

In a rare public appearance, the frail 87-year-old communist revolutionary is seen stooped over his walking cane, helped by an aide and trailed by his doctor while attending an art show in Havana, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

Castro's trademark beard is now snow white. He traded his green combat fatigues and cap for a black jacket and a green scarf when he visited the Kcho Studio Romerillo, Laboratory for Art, on Wednesday night for his first public appearance in nine months.

"The doctor never leaves his side," Luis Dominguez, who runs a political website in Miami, told The Herald.

The former president's appearance coincided with the 55th anniversary of Castro toppling the U.S.-backed Batista regime. For 47 years he led Cuba, until he fell gravely ill in 2006 and handed power over to his brother Raul, who officially became president two years later.

Once considered a formidable enemy of the United States and an ally of the Soviet Union during the Bay of Pigs standoff in the Kennedy administration, the flamboyant dictator garnered headlines in 1960 during a visit to New York City to address the U.N. His speech lasted hours.

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