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Fidel Castro spotted in public week after deathbed reports

NBC News

Former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua showed reporters a photo that includes Fidel Castro that he says was taken on Saturday. Rumors swirled last week that Castro was near death.

New in this version: Adds photo of Castro at reported meeting 

Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET: Several people, including the former vice president of Venezuela, say they saw Fidel Castro — reported last week to have been on his deathbed — out and about in public on Saturday.

The Cuban government referred all request for comment to the state-owned Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana, where hotel officials said guests and staff chatted with Castro on Saturday after his car dropped off former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua.

PhotoBlog: Former Venezuelan VP says he met with Fidel Castro

Jaua told NBC News that he met with Castro for five hours on Saturday. He showed reporters a photograph that he said was taken of the meeting. It was not immediately possible to confirm when the photo was taken.  

Castro, 86, was widely rumored among Cuban exiles and Latin American media organizations to have suffered a massive stroke and was said to be on a respirator, unable to talk or feed himself. His family denied those rumors. 

Castro last's public appearance was in March, when he met with Pope Benedict XVI in Havana. In response to the health rumors last week, the government read a statement in his name at an event marking the 50th anniversary of a Havana medical school. 

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