Interim Cuban leader Raul Castro has confirmed that a massive mobilization of security forces was ordered after his brother Fidel underwent surgery eight months ago.
‘‘This popular mobilization, in silence, without the least boasting, guaranteed the preservation of the revolution from any attempted military aggression,’’ he was quoted as saying Friday by the Communist Party’s Granma newspaper.
Addressing senior military leaders Friday, Ra�l Castro said ‘‘Operacion Caguairan’’—named after a hard Cuban tree also called ‘‘ax breaker’’—was ordered because he could not rule out that, in the face of his brother’s ailment, someone in Washington could ``turn crazy.’‘
Cuba did not publicly reveal the mobilization when it was ordered, just hours after it was announced on July 31 that Fidel Castro was ‘‘temporarily’’ surrendering power because of the surgery. He remains largely absent from public view eight months later, but is reported to be recovering.
The mobilization covered 200,000 Cubans, according to Hal Klepak, a Canadian academic and an expert on the Cuban armed forces who spoke last month at a University of Miami conference on Cuba.
Klepak did not explain whether the number was for Aug. 1 alone or a total for rotating call-ups.
Ra�l Castro said the mobilizations were carried out successfully. Large numbers of uniformed but unarmed soldiers and extra police were visible in the streets of Havana immediately after the July 31 announcement.
Granma earlier last week reported that mobilized soldiers had been practicing combat tactics, firing antiaircraft rockets, using computer simulators and sniping, but gave no numbers.
‘‘Never before, except in the times of the Bay of Pigs  and the Missile Crisis  had Cuba undertaken in its national territory such a mobilization of its troops in such a scale,’’ the newspaper said.