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Posted December 16, 2003 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Refutes rumors on his health after presiding over the military ceremony for the 107th anniversary of the death of Major General Antonio Maceo and his adjutant Francisco Gomez Toro.

GENERAL of the Army Raśl Castro warned that Cuba has turned into a trap for any invader due to its defense preparations over many years. “Anyone who sets foot here will at least leave his boot behind with his leg inside it.”
Speaking to the press, he affirmed that aggressors would find an exploding mine, an ambush to liquidate them and constant resistance in every square meter of the island, and added that the nation’s defense system will continue being improved.

On December 7, the vice president headed the military ceremony marking the 107th anniversary of the death of Major General Antonio Maceo and that of his adjutant Captain Francisco Gomez Toro, at the Cacahual Monumental Complex in the south of Havana Province.

The Cuban Armed Forces minister refuted false rumors as to his state of health. He ironically commented that he was allegedly close to dying of cancer, and recalled that this is not the first time he had been given up for dead. Similar calumnies were circulated at the time of the Pan American Games, when it was stated that he had died and that his corpse had been embalmed.

He explained that he devotes much of his time to the defense of Cuba and that in his position as second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party he has to give much of his time to that organization. Raśl clarified that that his absence from the public domain is due to the fact that most of his activities are not public ones, but promised the press that he would reappear whenever it was necessary to put an end to false rumors.

All the news agencies located in Cuba filed reports on the General of the Army’s statements.

The Cuban vice president had appeared on television on December 6, speaking at a conference of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution. In that meeting at the International Conference Center he expressed his emotion at being there with comrades in struggle going back 50 years. The Combatants Association had its 10th anniversary this year and is headed by Major of the Revolution Juan Almeida Bosquet.

Raśl personally explained Almeida’s absence by reading out a letter from the Major of the Revolution, who had expressly asked him to explain to his compatriots that he was unable to attend the conference due to a cardiovascular ailment that had forced him to curtail his activities. Almeida’s letter affirmed that his doctors had instructed him to avoid strongly emotive situations.

That conference was attended by the assailants of the Moncada Garrison, Granma expeditionaries and representatives of various facets of the Cuban Revolution, including internationalist missions.

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