Fidel back after four years
HAVANA – A lively and healthy-looking Fidel Castro appealed to President Barack Obama to stave off global nuclear war in an emphatic address to parliament yesterday that marked his first official government appearance since emergency surgery four years ago.Castro, who turns 84 in a week, wore olive-green fatigues devoid of any military insignia and arrived on the arm of a subordinate who steadied him as he walked. The approximately 600 Cuban lawmakers present sprang to their feet and applauded, as the gray-bearded revolutionary stepped to a podium that had been set up for him, grinning broadly and waving.“Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!” chanted the members of parliament.
“Long live Fidel!”Castro has been warning in written opinion columns for months that the United States and Israel will launch a nuclear attack on Iran and that Washington could also target North Korea – predicting Armageddon-like devastation and fighting he expected to have already begun by now.Castro’s speech lasted barely 11 minutes – possibly a record for the man who became famous for his hours-long discourses during 49 years in power – and was largely devoid of his usual America bashing. He referred to the United States as “the empire” only a few times – though he did say that if Obama didn’t intervene he would “be ordering the instantaneous death . . . of hundreds of millions of people, among them an incalculable number of inhabitants of his own homeland”. (AP)