The 89-year-old former president regularly writes reflections in the state media and meets with dignitaries but seldom appears in public. His last appearance at a public event was in July 2015.
Wearing a white sports jacket and speaking in a scratchy voice, Castro told a room of students and teachers that Espin would be happy to see the fruits of her sacrifice at schools like theirs. Thursday’s appearance came on what would have been her 86th birthday.
Castro was later shown shaking hands with children while seated and wearing a black baseball cap.
Castro wrote a 1,500-word essay in response to Barrack Obama’s trip last month- in his only statement about the US leader’s visit to date, reminding Cubans about a long history of US aggression against the island and stating: “we don’t need the empire to give us any presents.”
Castro stepped aside in 2006 after suffering a serious illness and officially retired two years later, but his presence still casts a long shadow on Cuban government and society.