Cuba airs new photos of convalescing Hugo Chavez

By the Associated Press | June 28, 2011 | 8:45 PM EDT

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban state television has broadcast pictures of a convalescing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez meeting with Fidel Castro. The nightly newscast says the encounter took place Tuesday morning.

Chavez appears healthy and animated as he talks and smiles alongside Castro.

The loquacious Venezuelan president underwent surgery in Cuba two weeks ago and has been unusually quiet since then. His silence and seclusion spurred growing speculation he might be seriously ill.

Allies of Chavez have insisted the leftist leader is firmly in control of the country and improving from his operation.