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Castro watched inauguration, Argentine leader says

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  • Argentina's president says she talked to Fidel Castro
  • Castro thinks Obama "a sincere person with good ideas," Argentine leader says
  • Castro transferred power in Cuba to his brother in 2006 after illness
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HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Fidel Castro appeared "very well" during a meeting this week with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, telling her that he watched President Obama's inauguration on television, Argentina's official news agency reported.

Fidel Castro is shown talking on the phone in Cuba in October 2006.

Fidel Castro is shown talking on the phone in Cuba in October 2006.

Castro said he believes Obama is "a sincere person with good ideas," Kirchner said in Cuba at the conclusion of a three-day visit, according to the state-run Telam news agency.

"We talked about all subjects," Kirchner said of her Wednesday meeting with Castro. "I found him very well. We talked about the international situation."

The report appears to belie widespread speculation that the Cuban revolutionary leader had suffered a major relapse or had died. The 82-year-old Castro has not been seen in public since ceding power to his brother Raul in 2006.

An account of Wednesday's meeting, published under Castro's name, also appeared in the Cuban news agency ACN late Wednesday. In it, the 82-year-old former leader noted that Obama is the 11th U.S. president to hold office since the communist revolution that brought him to power in 1959.

"Even though the huge power of that country, they have not been able to destroy the Cuban revolution," the agency quoted him as saying.

He said he had "no doubt" of Obama's honesty, "but his noble intentions leave many questions unanswered. For example, I asked myself, how could a wasteful and very consuming system preserve the environment?"

Castro transferred his office to his younger brother on a temporary basis in July 2006 after suffering from an undisclosed illness, often thought to be of his digestive system. Though photos sometimes surface, he has made no public appearances since then and handed power to Raul Castro permanently in February 2008.

Rumors circulated last week that the elder Castro had taken seriously ill again. Although these rumors surface periodically, some analysts paid particular attention this time because no photos of him had been seen since November, and he made no comments on the Cuban revolution's 50th anniversary on January 1.

All About CubaFidel CastroCristina Fernandez de Kirchner

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