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Posted May 29, 2003 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Large numbers of former officials from Saddam Hussein’s government have been given safe haven in Cuba, Cuban exile sources say. The former officials and their families arrived in Havana in the days following the fall of Baghdad April 9.

News of the Iraqis in Cuba comes amid reports that France provided passports to Iraqi officials to help them flee the country. About a dozen passports were found in Iraq by U.S. military intelligence survey teams and defense officials believe France provided the passports to the Iraqis.

Other officials said the passports might have been looted or forged.

Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Saddam had close ties in the past. Prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Castro provided intelligence to Saddam on the disposition of coalition forces, according to Cuban government official Alcibiades Hidalgo.

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