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Posted December 16, 2003 by publisher in Cuban Culture

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Havana - General Raul Castro, Cuba’s armed forces chief and President Fidel Castro’s brother and designated sucessor, joked Sunday about rumors of his death after keeping out of the public eye for several months.

“I was dying of a fatal cancer but thanks to Cuban medicine, I am almost well,” the younger Castro, 72, said at a military ceremony on Cacahual outside Havana.

“I was dead, the rumor was that I had been embalmed,” Raul Castro quipped.

“Now, I’m half dead again,” Castro joked, explaining he was mainly involved in Communist Party activities: “most of my activities are not publishable, that’s why I do not appear in the press.

“I’ll get lost again, continue my work and make an appearance when I have to, but I will always be present, don’t forget that,” the military chief said.

The younger Castro also warned against any military aggression against the only communist ruled country in the Americas.

“The price our people will have to pay will be terrible,” he said, “but we also will make aggressors pay a price, whoever they are, the Yankees whether they come with their British cousins or the Spaniards,” he added, alluding to the US-led coalition occupying Iraq.

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