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Fidel Castro reportedly appears in public

HAVANA, July 11 (UPI) -- Cuban media reported Sunday that former President Fidel Castro has made his first public appearance since he left office in 2006.

The 83-year-old Castro visited a scientific research facility on Wednesday and greeted members of the staff, the Havana Times said Sunday.

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The Times said the visit was first reported in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde. CNN said pro-government blogger Rosalia Baez wrote that eight photos of the visit were posted on the state-run media Web site.

Castro stepped aside to undergo intestinal surgery in 2006, but remains the boss of Cuba's Communist Party. His brother, Raul, was elected president two years later.

The Times said Castro's appearance and the recent announcement that 52 political prisoners would be released would "no doubt fuel speculation as to whether the leader is considering a return to the limelight."

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