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Posted February 10, 2004 by publisher in US Embargo

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Fidel Castro sought to reignite the revolutionary fire of his youth last week with a speech in which he challenged the United States to invade Cuba. The 77-year-old dictator ranted and raved for 5-1/2 hours, also charging that the Bush administration was plotting with Cuban exiles in Miami to kill him.

“I don’t care how I die, but for sure, if they invade us, I will die fighting with a gun in my hand,” Reuters news agency reported him as saying. Castro also said, “We know that Mr. Bush has committed himself to the [Cuban exile] mafia ... to assassinate me. ... I said it once before and today I’ll say it clearer: I accuse him!”

Roger Noriega, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, responded by saying: “It’s an absurd declaration, as usual.

According to Fidel Castro, he’s going to die fighting, probably he’s going to die talking.” Earlier Mr. Noriega described Castro as “a broken-down, old dictator who doesn’t cast much of a shadow,” but accused him of troublemaking and said he was “playing with fire.” That was a reference to Castro’s friendship and political alliance with his protg, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is helping to keep the derelict Cuban economy afloat by providing oil on preferential terms.

Why not take Castro at his word and invade? But the invasion that would bring about his downfall, without a shot being fired, should be an invasion of American tourists. So let’s lift the embargo on trade and the ban on travel and see how long Castro lasts.

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