Raul Castro says he's mobilized forces, anticipating U.S. threat

WORLD DIGEST

August 19, 2006|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

In his first public declaration as acting president, Raul Castro said he has mobilized tens of thousands of reservists and militia to defend Cuba against a potential U.S. threat.

"We could not rule out the risk of somebody going crazy, or even crazier, within the U.S. government," he said in an interview yesterday in the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Under the headline "No enemy can defeat us," the 75-year-old Cuban defense minister lambasted President Bush's efforts to derail a peaceful succession of power in Cuba and boasted that "absolute tranquillity is reigning in the country."

But Raul Castro did not outline any changes in policy, and he conducted the interview from his Defense Ministry office - not the president's office - indicating at least symbolically that his brother Fidel still holds power.

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