Fidel Castro Makes 1st Official Govt Appearance
August 7, 2010 by USA Post
Fidel Castro Makes 1st Official Govt Appearance, HAVANA – AP – A vibrant and healthy-looking Fidel Castro appealed to President Barack Obama to avoid a global nuclear war, in an emphatic speech to parliament on Saturday that marked his government’s first official appearance since emergency surgery four years ago.
Castro, who turns 84 in a week, wearing olive-green uniform with no military insignia and arm came from a subordinate who reassured him as he walked. The nearly 600 legislators present stood up and applauded, as the gray-bearded revolutionary stood on a podium that had been created for him, smiling broadly and waving.
“Fidel, Fidel, Fidel!” Shouted the members of parliament. “Viva Fidel!”
Castro has been warning in the written opinion columns for months that the U.S. and Israel will launch a nuclear attack against Iran and that Washington could also point to North Korea – the prediction of Armageddon and devastation he hopes to fight already begun.
“Eight weeks ago, I thought the imminent threat of war was not a possible solution. So dramatic was the problem I saw no way out,” Castro told the legislature. “I’m sure it will not, and instead … a man will make the decision alone, the president of the United States.”
Obama added, “Surely with multiple concerns, has not yet realized, but he has his advisers.”
Castro did not mention the internal politics of Cuba or the sinking economy – instead of sticking to the threat of war, the question for which a special meeting convened on Saturday by parliament.
However, their attendance, along with a series of recent public appearances after an absence of nearly four years of public life, is sure to raise more questions about the amount of a leadership role in Castro is ready to resume.
Are you eager to resume his position as supreme leader of Cuba “- or just well enough to warn lawmakers in person to the world might be close?
Castro’s speech lasted just 11 minutes – possibly a record for the man who became famous for his speeches hourslong for 49 years in power – and was largely devoid of his usual attacks on the United States. He referred to America as “empire” just a couple of times – although Obama said that if he was not involved “ordered the immediate death … of hundreds of millions of people, including untold numbers of people in their own homeland. ”
In Washington, there was no immediate response from the White House.
Castro moved to a seat after his speech, and was addressed briefly by his wife, Delia Soto del Valle. The couple rarely appeared in public together in the past, but Soto Castro has been seen more frequently in recent times.
It was Castro’s first appearance in parliament or in an act of government since shortly before a health crisis in July 2006 that forced him to cede power to his younger brother Raul – first temporarily, then permanently. He underwent emergency intestinal surgery caused by an illness whose precise nature has remained a state secret, and spent several years recuperating in an undisclosed location.
Lawmakers have always left an empty chair to the right of Raul. It was in his usual place Saturday – but Fidel did not sit on it.
Instead, he sat beside the head of Parliament, Ricardo Alarcon. The two consulted and jokes during the session of an hour-and-40-minutes of the meeting. Raul Castro was sitting nearby, but in another part of the stage, listening intently to the proceedings and taking notes when Fidel made his speech.
While it was the first time the brothers have appeared together in public since Fidel fell ill, nor made any effort to approach the other, and that even seemed to look into his eyes.
Lawmakers continued to Fidel Castro’s speech with enthusiastic comments about fully recovered and appeared healthy. He also commented on the possibility of a war.
Asked by a deputy if Obama would be able to start a nuclear conflict, Castro replied: “No, no, if you convince me not.”
There was an awkward pause as the room waiting for him to continue his trademark long-winded style. Instead, Castro patted his hand on the table for emphasis, then fell silent, shocked applause of the crowd.
Even before Castro was presented to parliament Saturday, legislators and other leaders have joined the state media to call him “commander in chief,” a title that had largely avoided and hand over power.
“Fidel attracts more people. There is nobody better than him,” said Pedro Gonzalez, a retired 90-year-old who watched the session of parliament in a national broadcast. “Look how well he has recovered. It’s incredible. Fidel makes us feel better.”
Castro’s message did not go well with everyone, however. Maite Delgado, 50, began to see Castro on television – then turned away.
“This is surreal. It seems that something that is separate from reality,” he said. “I am looking for an explanation of Fidel warning about the war and I can not find one. I can not find any explanation of what he is talking about, I wonder, ‘How could he not talk about all the internal problems of Cuba? ”
A sudden media blitz Castro has been making almost daily appearances around Havana in recent weeks. He has led groups of Cuban intellectuals and Communist Youth meetings, and even made a trip to Havana the aquarium for a dolphin show.
Alarcon called the Saturday session abruptly to an end, saying it was not the only “revolutionary duty” Castro was scheduled for the day. Castro replied shyly that, these days, which has “more time than I know what to do with it.”
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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