Around 200 children's choirs appeared across Cuba on Friday as part of celebrations marking its leader Fidel Castro's 84th birthday.

Another concert is planned on Saturday on the steps of the University of Havana, where the leader of the Cuban revolution and former President studied law.

The artists' festival “For Fidel and For Peace” began on Thursday with more concerts and poetry readings.

Mr. Castro was born on August 13, 1926. Shortly before his 80th birthday in 2006, he became seriously ill and handed over leadership of the government to his brother Raul. After Cabinet elections in 2008, Mr. Raul Castro became the head of state and government. The former President remained the leader of the Communist Party.

Mr. Castro has made numerous public appearances over the past few weeks.

At the beginning of August, he launched the first volume of his memoirs. Last weekend, he addressed Parliament for the first time since his illness. On Thursday, Mr. Castro met visiting Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba and her assistant Danilo Rueda, according to the official website Cubadebate.

Mr. Castro and his guests exchanged points of view on the peace process in Colombia, the situation in Latin America and around the world. Mr. Castro and Ms. Cordoba expressed optimism about the prospects for peace and building a new world, according to Cubadebate.

The Colombian Senator congratulated Mr. Castro on his birthday and presented him with several books on the history and current situation of Colombia, while Mr. Castro gave his Colombian visitors autographed copies of his book Strategic Victory. Ms. Cordoba also asked Mr. Castro to meet a group of key leaders who strive for peace in Colombia on Sunday, and Mr. Castro agreed.

Ms. Cordoba has been mediating the release of hostages held by the Colombian guerillas. She is a member of the Colombian Movement for Peace, which promotes a humanitarian agreement to end the inner conflict in that South American nation.

More In: International | News