The 10-minute clip also showed Castro, dressed in a red, white and blue track suit, sitting and drinking orange juice.

'Good humour'

Chavez said he found his friend to be "of good humour, with a good face and in good spirits". He said the pair discussed a variety of issues, including the world's energy crisis and that Castro showed "much clarity, as always in his ideas and analysis".

The Cuban president provisionally handed power to his brother, Raul, four days after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery.

A Spanish doctor who examined him in December said two weeks ago that Castro was making a "slow but progressive" recovery, although his condition was serious due to his age.

Earlier this month, El Pais, citing two medical sources at Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital, said the intestinal operation had failed when a suture burst, leaving the Cuban leader in a grave condition. Cuban officials denied the Spanish newspaper's account.

Castro's medical condition is a state secret, but Cuban authorities have denied he is suffering from terminal cancer, as US intelligence officials have claimed.