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
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
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
after his death.
``We don't have any doubts what will happen'' in Cuba after he's gone,
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
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
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
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,
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
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
aware of many Cuban exile plots against Havana over the years and did nothing to
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.