Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, his ideological mentor and ally, for six hours on Tuesday, Cuba's state television said.

The two statesmen and revolutionary leaders discussed joint development programs between Venezuela and Cuba for six hours, a newscaster said.

Castro and Chavez, he said, reviewed advances in the leftist alliance they have forged in Latin American, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, which opposes U.S.-backed policies for hemispheric free trade.

Chavez, who has kept Communist Cuba's economy afloat with cheap supplies of oil -- running at 92,000 barrels a day -- was also scheduled to meet with acting President Raul Castro.

Long live Cuba! Long live Fidel! Chavez shouted on arrival at the Havana airport, television images showed.

Fidel Castro, 80, has not appeared in public in 10 months, since undergoing emergency bowel surgery that forced him to hand over power to his brother in July.

But he has received the leaders of Vietnam and Bolivia in the last 10 days and looked healthier in a pre-taped 50-minute television interview a week ago.

Castro has returned to public life by writing columns from his undisclosed convalescence quarters, mainly vitriolic attacks on his ideological foe, U.S. President George W. Bush. His musings have given no clues about his political future.

Chavez, who has visited Castro six times since he fell ill, last week told the Cuban leader to shed the track suit he has been wearing in the hospital and put on his trademark military fatigues, which would signal that he is back in command.

I think it's time to put on the uniform. We want to see you back in uniform, that's an order, Chavez said in Caracas.