Castro praises Malaysia for rebelling against U.S.-led globalization
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- (AP) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro
praised Malaysia on Friday for standing up to Washington and globalization
and said that Latin
America needs a similar spirit of rebellion before it is annexed by U.S. companies.
Castro received a warm welcome as he began a three-day visit to
Malaysia and held talks with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a fellow
critic of the United States and
what he sees as the U.S. drive to dominate the rapidly changing world economy.
During a lecture on foreign policy, Castro called globalization and modern capitalism a form of ``plunder.''
``Malaysia is a nation that has rebelled,'' Castro said. ``I have
been talking to the leaders of this country. I have been telling them that
we are very grateful for what they
have done, because in Latin America we are in very great need of this spirit of rebellion.''
Castro criticized the U.S.-led drive toward freer trade, most
recently at a Western Hemisphere summit in Quebec City that excluded communist
Cuba and was held under
heavy guard against anti-globalization protesters.
Asked about the U.S. proposal to remove trade barriers within
North America and South America, Castro said, ``It would be like putting
the chicken-eating fox in the cage
with the chickens.''
U.S. companies would ``annex'' Latin America and `` impose their culture on the world: drugs, violence, sex and pornography,'' Castro said.
Castro, 74, and Mahathir, 75, are among the world's longest ruling
leaders: Castro has been in power in Cuba for more than four decades and
Mahathir has ruled Malaysia
They share a deep suspicion of the United States. But Castro's
communist Cuba is one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest nations, while
capitalist Malaysia is one of
Southeast Asia's richest.
The United States is Malaysia's largest trading partner, while Cuba languishes under a four-decade U.S. trade embargo.
Castro was welcomed at Parliament by an honor guard and salutes
of cannon-fire. King Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah gave him a state drive
through Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia's largest city, a rare honor.
Castro then met Mahathir at a hotel before the two men entered
a limousine together for official talks at the prime minister's office
in the opulent new capital city,
They witnessed the signing of a framework agreement on economic, scientific and technical issues.
Malaysia, the world's largest palm oil producer, will expand dlrs 10 million of palm oil credits to Cuba by another dlrs 15 million.
``They talked a great deal about creating a more just and equitable world order,'' Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said.
Castro urged Malaysian business leaders to invest in his country, especially the tourism sector, Syed Hamid said.
In the past week, Castro has also visited Algeria, an ally dating from the revolutionary fervor of the 1960s, and Iran.