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Learning English - Words in the News
28 February, 2007 - Published 15:49 GMT
Castro speaks live on radio
Fidel Castro
Mr Castro has appeared in a recent video

The Cuban President, Fidel Castro, has spoken in his first live broadcast since having intestinal surgery nearly seven months ago. Mr Castro spoke on the telephone with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, who hosts a daily radio programme in Caracas. This report from Emilio San Pedro:

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President Castro had not appeared in a live broadcast since disappearing from the public eye last July - after he underwent emergency intestinal surgery. Since then, he's only been seen in still photographs and short pre-recorded video clips shown on Cuban state television - and most of those have also included the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez. So, it's no surprise that the Cuban leader would have chosen Mr Chavez' radio programme for his first live appearance in over seven months.

The Cuban President sounded less frail in this broadcast than he has in the past. He told Mr Chavez that he was feeling stronger every day and that his illness had given him more time for reading - joking that he had become a student once again in his old age. He had praise for the Venezuelan leader for his handling of the South American country's economy.

They also discussed other subjects like the use of agricultural products like corn and sugar for the creation of alternative fuels such as ethanol. One thing he didn't raise was whether he would be returning to power in the near future. For now at least, it seems like Mr Castro is to continue convalescing away from the public eye - while his brother, Raul, continues at the helm of Cuba's communist government.

Emilio San Pedro, BBC, Miami

Listen to the words

a live broadcast
transmission of programmes from a radio or television station without any time delay between the action in the studio and the transmission of the programme

the public eye
the focus of public attention

was subjected to, experienced

weak, in delicate health, fragile

his handling of
the way he dealt with

alternative fuels
fuels that can be used instead of coal, gas and oil

a colourless flammable liquid - C2H5OH - that is the intoxicating agent in alcoholic liquor and is also used as a solvent

mention, talk about

recovering from an illness

at the helm
in charge of, leading, directing

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