1. Zoom in Cubadebate website with picture of Fidel Castro during interview with VTV journalist
2. Medium of pictures of Castro scrolling on computer screen
3. Zoom out Ricardo Alarcon in seated in audience at International Press Centre, Havana
5. Medium same
6. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Ricardo Alarcon, Cuban National Assembly President:
"My understanding is that he''s (Fidel Castro) in perfect health. Just a short while ago Mariela (Castro''s niece) said: ''He''s alive and kicking'' and he''s doing well. Fidel himself said it a while ago: the day he dies no one is going to believe it because they have killed him so many times."
7. Wide of conference room at International Press Centre
Fidel Castro has broken a long silence by granting an interview to a Venezuelan television station, his first since rumours began to spread that the former Cuban leader might be sick or near death, while a top Cuban official said Thursday that the revolutionary was in "good health."
Photographs of the interview with a journalist from Venezolana de Television were posted on Cubadebate, a state-run website.
The 85-year-old appears relaxed and healthy in the pictures, sitting in an easy chair and dressed casually.
The website says the interview took place on Tuesday in Havana, but it has not yet been broadcast and it was not immediately clear when it would be. It quoted the Venezuelan journalist who conducted the interview, Mario Silva, as saying Castro was "alive and kicking."
"I hate to inform those who are enjoying themselves by believing that Commandante Fidel has had a stroke that he is alive and kicking," Silva said.
Cuban Parliament Chief Ricardo Alarcon also weighed in on the health rumours that have sprung up in recent weeks, saying Castro "is well and enjoying good health."
He added Fidel had already said that the "day he dies nobody will believe it because they had killed him so many times!" he added.
Castro has not appeared in public since April when he seemed unsteady and unusually frail at an important Communist Party summit. He has all but stopped writing his trademark opinion pieces, and didn''t make a statement or release a photograph on his birthday in August.
The silence has led to a fresh round of death rumours from Miami, propagated on exile radio and television stations and through social media sites such as Twitter. Castro''s health was even the subject of a computer virus embedded in a spam email titled "Fidel is Dead."
Castro stepped down - first temporarily, then permanently, in July 2006, handing power over to his brother Raul. He stayed out of the public eye for four years before bursting back on the scene in 2010. But after a flurry of appearances, the former Cuban leader went silent again.
The television interview would be Castro''s first in 2011, though photographs and video of him meeting with Chavez and other visiting dignitaries have been released.