The Miami Herald
May 18, 2000

 Castro jokes about interest in his tennis shoes

 HAVANA -- (AP) -- A playful Fidel Castro joked about the intense interest in the
 brand of tennis shoes he wore during his May Day march with hundreds of
 thousands of Cuban workers

 ``I'm willing to negotiate for X amount for tennis shoes for children, for athletes,'' he
 teased during a Wednesday evening speech to Cuban farmers. ``And then I'll
 show off myself with the name of the brand on the tennies.

 ``It never even occurred to me to look and see the brand,'' he said. ``Do you know
 what brand it was. DO YOU?

 ``Well, I'm not going to say because I'm not going to be involved in advertising,
 and that's that,'' he said, drawing laughs from the hundreds gathered in the
 capital's Conventions Palace.

 Cuba's communist government frowns on the glorification of product brands,
 saying such capitalist practices clash with its socialist principles.

 Speculation had been rampant about the brand of tennis shoes Castro was
 wearing on May 1 with his traditional olive green uniform. Generally he wears
 black military style boots.

 The 73-year-old leader said he got the shoes from Cuba's National Sports Institute
 when he asked for something comfortable to wear for the march.