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Posted January 23, 2006 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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By ANITA SNOW | Associated Press Writer

Fidel Castro called Sunday for a march outside the American mission to protest new electronic signs on the building facade and accuse the U.S. of protecting an exile suspected of anti-Castro bombings.

The mission a week ago turned on signs with streaming text of sayings from Martin Luther King Jr. and excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Cuba is a signatory.

In a three-hour appearance on state television Sunday, the Cuban president said that, after abuse scandals at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, the U.S. has no moral authority on human rights.

“They should put those signs inside, not outside,” Castro said.

The signs on the oceanfront building are the latest salvo in an ongoing billboard war between the two countries. Cuba more than a year ago erected signs outside the mission with photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners and a huge swastika with a “Made in the U.S.A” stamp.

Castro characterized the new U.S. signs as “provocations” and said they appeared to be aimed at breaking off the limited contact between the two governments, which have been without diplomatic relations for 45 years.

The U.S. has an interests section under the Swiss Embassy in Havana to handle consular affairs such as visa processing. Cuba has a similar office in Washington.

The march would coincide with a Tuesday court date for Luis Posada Carriles, who is held at a U.S. federal detention center in El Paso, Texas, on immigration charges. A similar march last year drew hundreds of thousands of Cubans.

Cuban-born Posada, a former CIA operative, was arrested in Miami in May on charges he entered the United States illegally. He is awaiting an immigration judge’s deportation ruling.

He is accused by Cuba and Venezuela of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner and of staging bombings in Havana in 1997 and 1998.

Cuba and others have been clamoring for him to be sent to Venezuela to stand trial, but an immigration judge ruled he could not be deported there, citing the possibility he would face torture ” a claim vehemently denied by Venezuela.

Castro also has accused Posada and his colleagues of plotting to assassinate the Cuban leader at a summit in Panama in November 2000. Posada and several other exiles were arrested and sentenced in Panama on weapons charges but were pardoned in August 2004 by outgoing President Mireya Moscoso.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on January 24, 2006 by DeeDee

    Is the march going to take place this coming up Sunday?

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