Fidel Castro says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is doing "much better" after undergoing his fourth cancer operation in Cuba.
The retired Cuban leader spoke to reporters Sunday in his longest public appearance since 2010, The Guardian reported.
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Sporting a plaid shirt and black jacket, the stopped, white-bearded 86-year-old Castro was seen in state-run TV footage walking slowly among the media and wellwishers as he voted in the general election.
He said he gets updates daily on Chavez's condition.
"He is much better, recovering. It has been a tough struggle, but he has been improving," Castro, 86, was quoted as saying by Communist Party newspaper Granma. "We have to cure him. Chavez is very important for his country and for Latin America."
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Chavez, 58, has been battling cancer in the pelvic region since June 2011.
According to Reuters, he has undergone four cancer-related surgeries in Cuba since then, the latest a six-hour operation Dec. 11 in Havana.
Chavez has not been seen or heard from since his surgery in December, sparking rumors about his health.
He missed his scheduled presidential inaguration last month, The Associated Press reported.