Fidel Castro spent six hours presenting a two-volume memoir to an audience at a Havana convention center, state media said today. It was a rare appearance for the retired and increasingly reclusive former Cuban leader. Images on state television showed a smiling, animated Castro wearing a dark track suit over a blue plaid button-up shirt. Audio of him was not broadcast, but Communist Party newspaper Granma said he told attendees yesterday that they would hear about "two books that you haven't had any news of."
Granma said the two-tome memoir, "Guerrilla of Time," fills nearly 1,000 pages and covers Castro's life from childhood until December 1958, the eve of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. It is based on interviews with journalist Katiuska Blanco. "I have to take advantage now, because memory fades," Granma quoted Castro as saying. Castro, 85, stepped aside in 2006 due to a life-threatening illness. He is seldom seen in public these days, though he did show up at a Communist Party congress last April, holding the arm of an aide as he entered to a standing ovation and tears.