Castro warns of nuclear war threat

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PostWed Jul 14, 2010 9:28 am » by Abyssdnb

A relaxed and lucid Fidel Castro has returned to the limelight after years spent largely out of public view, discussing world events in a raspy voice in his most prominent television interview since falling seriously ill four years ago.

The 83-year-old former Cuban president talked about how tension between the United States and both North Korea and Iran could ultimately trigger a global nuclear war, in an interview on Mesa Redonda - or Round Table - a daily talk show on current events.

The conversation ranged widely, from Pakistan's need for energy to America's out of control defence spending and China's decision to lend Cuba money to buy energy efficient light bulbs. One thing Mr Castro did not discuss were events in Cuba, where the government released and sent into exile the first of some 52 political prisoners they promised to free in coming months.

The interview lasted about an hour and 15 minutes - but much of that time was spent with either Mr Castro reading essays by someone else or having his own words read back to him by presenter Randy Alonso.

Mr Castro warned that an attack on Iran would be catastrophic for America. "The worst (for America) is the resistance they will face there, which they didn't face in Iraq," he said.

As the interview progressed, Mr Castro at times showed flashes of his prowess as a powerful speaker. At other points, however, he paused for lengthy periods and shuffled pages of notes he kept in front of him. Later, he listened as the host read back long tracks from essays Mr Castro himself wrote recently.

The former Cuban leader shunned the spotlight since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006. The illness forced him to step down - first temporarily, and later permanently - and cede power to his younger brother Raul. His recovery was a closely held state secret, and his health was the subject of persistent rumours among exiles in Florida.

Cuba has already released seven political prisoners and sent them with their families into exile in Spain, the first wave in the group of 52 such inmates authorities promised to free.

Cuba's Roman Catholic Church reached an agreement last week with the government to free those still imprisoned from a 2003 crackdown that jailed 75 opposition activists. The releases will take months, but would be Cuba's largest liberation of political prisoners since 1998.
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