Chavez: Castro Still Working, On Top of World Affairs

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says Fidel Castro continues working and writing, and is staying on top of world affairs.

Chavez's comments come as a monthlong halt in Castro's regular essays has raised new concerns about the health of the 82-year-old former Cuban president, who had emergency intestinal surgery about 2 1/2 years ago.

Venezuela's presidential press office confirmed Friday that Chavez said Castro "is working, writing" and following international affairs.

Chavez was asked about his close friend's health by a reporter on the sidelines of a meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in western Venezuela.

On Sunday, Chavez fueled speculation by saying Castro would likely not appear in public again.