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Posted August 18, 2006 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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By ANITA SNOW | Associated Press Writer

In his first public comments since becoming Cuba’s acting president, Raul Castro said his brother Fidel is recovering and that thousands of troops were mobilized soon after his illness was announced, according to an interview published Friday.

Raul Castro, 75, thanked the doctors and others who have cared for his brother, saying they “have attended to him in an excellent manner ... with much love and dedication. This has been a very important factor in Fidel’s progressive recovery.”

Raul Castro, the nation’s Defense Minister, said he mobilized the island nation’s troops in the hours after his brother’s illness was announced July 31.

“We could not rule out the risk of somebody going crazy, or even crazier, within the U.S. government,” he told Lazaro Barredo, editor of the Communist Party’s Granma newspaper.

“I decided to substantially raise our combative capacity ... including the mobilization of several tens of thousands of reservists and militia members,” he said.

A noticeable but still discreet increase in the number of reservists on Cuba’s streets was evident in the first days after it was announced Fidel had undergone intestinal surgery. Cubans were asked to affirm their allegiance to the government and willingness to fight for it in the event of an attack.

Raul Castro, has been at his brother’s side since launching the revolution with the attack on the Moncada military barracks in 1953 and fought with him in the Sierra Maestra mountains against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. As No. 2 man in the government, the younger Castro is constitutionally designated to replace his brother should he die or become incapacitated.

The government has treated
Fidel Castro’s ailment, his exact condition and the type of surgery he underwent as a “state secret.”

While Fidel Castro recovers, “absolute tranquility is reigning in the country,” the younger brother said.

The younger Castro said that the Cuban people’s calm manner in the more than two weeks following his brother’s illness “reminded me of the conduct of the Cuban people during the heroic days of the so-called Missile Crisis in October 1962.”

Raul Castro noted that international media had commented on his absence from public view in the days after he took provisional power, adding that “those comments don’t bother me in the slightest.”

He said he did care about what the Cuban people are thinking, however, and pointed out that he appeared on state television on Sunday, his brother’s 80th birthday, to greet visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the airport. He also appeared in photographs of a birthday gathering with his brother and Chavez.

“As a point of fact, I am not used to making frequent appearances in public, except at times when it is required,” Raul Castro said in the interview. “Many tasks related to defense should not be made public and have to be handled with maximum care, and that has been one of my fundamental responsibilities” as Defense Minister.

He also noted that “I have always been discreet, that is my way, and in passing I will clarify that I am thinking of continuing in that way,” Raul Castro added. “But that has not been the fundamental reason why I don’t appear very often in the mass media; simply, it has not been necessary.”

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on August 18, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Interesting that most of his comments (in this article anyway) refer to his lack of public appearances.

    Also, I find this line interesting:

    “I have always been discreet, that is my way, and in passing I will clarify that I am thinking of continuing in that way”

    Apparently he is thinking about a long term job as President (means Fidel won’t be back?

    Raul needs to be careful about addressing the Cuban people. I don’t think he can ramble on like Fidel and he may not be able to give a good written speech.

    Also, his every word will be studied by Cubans and foreigners alike for deeper meaning…kinda like what I am doing here grin



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on August 20, 2006 by Ralph

    Raul is more and more in troubles,Now the revelation about the shut-down
    in 1996 the unarmed planes of Hermanos al Rescate sealed for ever any
    sort of “accordance"between a potential new ruler of Cuba.Raul is clearly
    the mastermind after Fidel gave the greenlight for palnning and shutdown
    on international space the unarmed planes of the cuban dissident,miami
    based organization.Now he and the hard-core of the nomenklatura and even
    other moderates high ranked have only one way which avoiding any reform,
    and increase the repression and of course could be a factor in the very speedy
    end of the succession.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on August 21, 2006 by MiamiCuban

    I guess the issue of the “international space” where the planes were shot down will forever be a mystery.  But I wonder, in light of the fact that the planes had previously flown over Havana to drop leaflets…..isn’t it very possible that on that fateful day they also had crossed over or at least were about to?  No matter what anyone thinks of the Cuban government, I highly doubt they would be the ones to provoke a crisis.


  4. Follow up post #4 added on August 21, 2006 by BERNIE

    The person who trying to provoke a crisis is Ralph.

    What idiots think that soldiers don’t kill unarmed civilians.  They have benn given a uniform that automatically authorizes them to be an assassin.


  5. Follow up post #5 added on August 22, 2006 by Ralph

    Bernie ,you behave yourself ,as a looser,I didn’t create this trouble;but the
    stupididity and vicious intentions of the cubaanse.Of course that ,soldiers cannot kill unarmed civilians under Geneva Convention over conflict situations,
    do you know about?.Your best fact would be that they,maybe,had broken
    the cuban air-space and fall leaflets over Havana city, But they were shutting
    down on international water,in clear international space and that is a crime.
    At the end of the Day the cubans could have done, many “no violent things” to response to,but they don’t and what they did,not me, is on accordance of
    any decent international low over the matter a C r i m e.The decision which
    upholded that was issued by the United Nations of Civil Aviation Organization,
    with witnesses, who were on the sea, at the same latitude and an the same time,nothing was fake,the real fact was the cuban government shut down unarmed planes on international waters and that is mr bernie by any standard
    non-acceptable.Nobody can do that on whatsoever reason.-


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