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Fidel Castro: 'Slander' over case of seized arms

  • July 28, 2013 - 1:05 PM

HAVANA — Foes of Havana have tried to manipulate the case of Cuban armaments seized at the Panama Canal on a boat bound for North Korea, Fidel Castro said in a letter published Sunday by state media.

In a letter dated July 26, Castro alluded to allegations that Cuba may have violated U.N. sanctions against the Asian nation, calling them an attempt to defame his country.

"In recent days there was an attempt to slander our Revolution, trying to portray (President Raul Castro) as tricking the United Nations and other heads of state," Castro wrote.

Addressed to foreign leaders who attended Friday's celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, the letter also reaffirmed Cuba's stated opposition to nuclear weapons.

The Panamanian government on July 16 announced the discovery of missiles and other military equipment on the North Korean-flagged freighter Chong Chon Gang, underneath a shipment of sugar.

Cuba said they were aging defensive weaponry including surface-to-air missile systems, fighter jets and engines that were being sent to North Korea for repairs.

State-run website Cubadebate said Castro gave the letter to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a meeting between the two men Friday.

Cubadebate published photographs this weekend of Maduro and Castro, who wore a white warm-up jacket over a plaid collared shirt.

Castro was forced to step aside by a near-fatal intestinal condition in 2006 in favor of his younger brother Raul, and is rarely seen in public these days.

© 2014 Star Tribune