View Full Version : Cuba Mobilized For A U.S. Attack, Raul Castro Says

08-18-2006, 08:54 PM
Cuba Mobilized for a U.S. Attack, Raúl Castro Says


Published: August 19, 2006

MEXICO CITY, Aug. 18 — Raúl Castro, in his first public comments since temporarily taking over power in Cuba from his ailing brother, said in an interview published Friday that he had mobilized the country’s armed forces in the hours after Fidel Castro’s illness was announced, to fend off any invasion that might have been planned by Washington.

“We could not rule out the risk of somebody going crazy, or even crazier, within the U.S. government,” Raúl Castro, the country’s defense minister, said in an interview with the editor of Granma, the Communist Party newspaper.

In remarks that Cuba watchers said did not veer from the party line, Mr. Castro, 75, said that his older brother, who turned 80 last Sunday, was recovering gradually from surgery and that “absolute tranquillity is reigning in the country.”

Mr. Castro, speaking from his office at the Defense Ministry, lashed out at President Bush’s push for political change in Cuba as “boorish” and “stupid,” and said Cubans stood ready to repel any attacks with “rifle in hand.”

“So far the attacks have only been rhetorical, with the exception of the substantial increase in subversive radio and television broadcasts against Cuba,” he said in an article with the headline “No Enemy Can Defeat Us.”

The Bush administration has said it has no plans to intervene in Cuba militarily but is pushing for a transition to multiparty democracy there. “Our desire is for the Cuban people to choose their own form of government,” Mr. Bush said at a news conference on Aug. 7, a week after Fidel Castro’s illness was announced.

Cuban government officials have evoked the threat of an American invasion for decades. The fact that a recent report prepared by the Bush administration on accelerating political change in Cuba contains a classified section has only increased suspicions in Havana.

Portraying the Cuban people as more united than ever behind their government, Raúl Castro said the population’s calm and discipline in the weeks after his brother’s surgery “reminded me of the conduct of the Cuban people during the heroic days of the so-called missile crisis of October 1962.”

Mr. Castro, who fought at his brother’s side since their revolutionary struggle began in 1953, has largely remained out of the limelight in the nearly three weeks since the government announced a temporary handover of power to allow Fidel Castro to recover from surgery for intestinal bleeding. Without signaling how long he thought his interim presidency would last, Raúl Castro said his low-key style would most likely continue.

“I have always been discreet,” he said. “That is my way, and I am thinking of continuing in that way.”

08-19-2006, 01:22 PM
“We could not rule out the risk of somebody going crazy, or even crazier, within the U.S. government,”