The Miami Herald
August 25, 1998

             Castro: Cuban socialism will live on

             My death won't change things, 72-year-old leader tells Dominicans

             By JUAN O. TAMAYO
             Herald Staff Writer

             SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Cuban President Fidel Castro
             vowed Monday that his death, whether by assassination or illness, would never
             alter Havana's socialist course.

             ``Men die, but the people are immortal,'' Castro told an ardent university audience
             as he wound up his five-day stay for a summit of Caribbean leaders. He was
             scheduled to fly back to Cuba later in the day.

             Kept under a suffocating security blanket since his arrival Thursday, Castro
             seemed energized Monday for the first time as he addressed cheering students and
             professors who overflowed a Santo Domingo convention center.

             Castro devoted most of his five-hour and 15-minute speech to attacking the
             globalization of the economy and culture, even taking a swipe at the spread of the
             McDonald's hamburger chain in poor countries such as India.

             But he vowed that Cuba would hold to its four-decade old socialist course even
             after his death.

             ``We don't have any doubts what will happen'' in Cuba after he's gone, Castro
             said. ``The modest achievements of Cuba will live on. . . . Our country has always
             resisted, even while others were collapsing.''

             The 72-year-old Castro seemed to take particular delight in mocking recent news
             reports that he is seriously ill. He seemed fit during his visit here, walking briskly
             and chatting animatedly with everyone he met.

             ``Very often there are reports that Castro has little time left. But the fools and the
             idiots don't realize that's not what is important,'' he said. ``What value would the
             revolution have if it depended only on a Castro?''

             Drawing laughter and cheers from the audience, he also joked that he does not like
             to be reminded of his age, ``not because of vanity but because I want to continue
             fighting and annoying'' his enemies.

             Starting out his speech in a near whisper but rising at times to full-throated bellows,
             Castro also thanked Dominican security officials ``who made impossible''
             whatever plans there were to kill him.

             The Miami Herald has reported that Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, accused
             but never convicted in the mid-air bombing of a Cuban jetliner near Barbados in
             1976 that killed 73, had plotted to kill Castro here.

             He holds ``the world record'' as a target for such attempts, Castro said, first
             sponsored directly by Washington and later by Cuban exiles trained and
             unofficially guided by U.S. officials.

             Castro gave no names or details of the latest plots against him but said they were
             the work of ``the same people who blew up our plane in Barbados.''

             He also repeated Cuba's often-stated allegation that U.S. officials have been
             aware of many Cuban exile plots against Havana over the years and did nothing to
             stop them.

             The links between exiles and a spree of bombings around Havana last summer,
             which Posada has admitted masterminding, ``were unquestionably tolerated or
             known'' in Washington, Castro said.

             ``It was impossible to do it without the knowledge of people'' in the U.S.
             government, Castro added.