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In this photo released by the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's Fidel Castro (L) and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez look at Granma state newspaper at an unknown location in Havana, Cuba - AP.
Hugo Chavez appeared on Cuban state television on Tuesday, alongside revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, for the first time since the Venezuelan president underwent emergency surgery here.
The 56-year-old appeared to have lost weight, but was animated in speech as usual, alongside Castro, 84, the footage showed. The video also aired in Venezuela to dispel rumors about Chavez's medical condition.
The footage showed Chavez and Castro speaking in a garden as well as seated in a room; in one, the close friends and political allies are shown reading Tuesday's edition of the Communist Pary newspaper Granma, presumably to dispel repeated allegations that Chavez could be ailing or dead.
The Venezuelan government has not addressed details of Chavez's condition. And opposition lawmakers are up in arms in Caracas as many think it is unconstitutional for the president to be governing from abroad.
The Venezuelan government has, however, rejected reports that Chavez was in critical condition following surgery in Cuba, and insisted that the firebrand leftist leader was recovering well.
"He is recovering," Information Minister Andres Izarra told AFP Sunday after reports from Miami's El Nuevo Herald which cited unnamed US intelligence sources as saying Chavez was in "critical condition - not on the brink of death, but critical indeed."
The newspaper also said the sources refused to comment on rumors in Venezuela that Chavez could be receiving treatment for prostate cancer.
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