Castro accuses Russia of betraying Cuba
HAVANA (AP) --Fidel Castro accused Russia of betraying Cuba by breaking
its former trade and other agreements with the communist island a decade ago after
the Soviet Union collapsed and formed an alliance with the United States.
"Russia, allied with the United States, broke all the accords and betrayed
Castro said in speech reported by Sunday the Communist Party daily Granma. "I
cannot use another word, although I do not try to blame any one leader in particular.
"It was the fruit of its errors and the painful way in which it lost
battle against the western capitalist and imperialist bourgeoisie, under the standard of
the United States," Castro said in an official version of the speech made Saturday at
a ceremony celebrating the recent renovation of more than 100 primary secondary
schools in the capital.
Castro currently is leading Cuba in an especially intense ideological
battle of its own,
even moving last week to have socialism permanently inscribed in the constitution as
Cuba is still struggling to recover from the economic crisis that began
when it lost
its primary sources of preferential trade with the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
The Cuban leader said the schools also fell into disuse because of the
government's tightening of trade sanctions against the island during the 1990s,
which he referred to as a "double blockade."
Because of Cuba's severe economic crisis, hundreds of primary and secondary
schools in the nation's capital had classrooms without windows, bathrooms without
doors, leaky roofs and antiquated plumbing.
Abandoned by its former top trading partner and squeezed by its historic
small country, a few miles from the victorious and hegemonic superpower, decided
to fight under the best principles of the socialist ideal," Castro said.
"Because of that, when the capitalist world sank into what has become
economic and social crisis, our people resist and emerge as a stunning example for
the rest of the peoples of the world," he added.
Castro's words came two days after the Group of Eight economic summit
world's most powerful countries ended in Canada, where leaders agreed to help
Russia dispose of its Soviet-era arsenal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
The $20 billion pledged by industrial nations to help eliminate the
arms has been met
with a mixed response back in Moscow, where some retired military leaders and
others have accused President Vladimir Putin of capitulating to the West by agreeing
to cooperate more closely with NATO and assuming full entry into the G-8.
Havana, too, has criticized Moscow's alliance with NATO, as well as
its decision to
close a listening post it built in Cuba two years after the 1962 missile crisis.
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.