Only nuclear attack can defeat us, says Fidel
Campaign News | Wednesday, 2 February 2005
We do not need Europe or the USA says Cuban leader
HAVANA, Feb 1 - Cuba's President Fidel Castro said on Tuesday that the only way the United States could overthrow the revolution was by nuclear destruction.
Cuba, recently labeled an "outpost of tyranny" by US President George W. Bush's administration, would resist an American invasion like Vietnam, he said.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq, Fidel has repeatedly accused the Bush regime of wanting to invade Cuba.
"I hope I'm wrong ... but if they make the mistake of attacking and invading this country, I recommend Mr. Bush had better launch 50 nuclear weapons and exterminate us all," Fidel said in a speech to the annual international teachers' conference in Havana.
"We prefer to die in heaven than to survive in hell," the 78-year-old leader told delegates.
Referring to the recent thaw in relations with Europe Fidel said it was not because of weakness that Cuba had restored its relations.
Cuba "doesn't need the United States. It doesn't need Europe," he said. ``What a wonderful thing to be able to say, that [Cuba] doesn't need any assistance -- it's learned to live without it."
Fidel said he had watched Bush's second inaugural speech last month and reiterated his view of the danger Cuba faced.
"I saw the face of a deranged man," he said.
"I assure you this country could be exterminated," he said.
The United States broke off diplomatic ties with Havana after the 1959 revolution and pushed Cuba into an alignment with the former Soviet Union in the midst of the Cold War.
Hostility between Washington and Havana has escalated under Bush, who stepped up US support for internal opponents to the revolution and criticism of human rights abuses on the island.
During confirmation hearing last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Cuba, along with Burma, Belarus and Zimbabwe, "outposts of tyranny."
Washington has become increasingly worried about Castro's close alliance with President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, a major supplier of oil to the United States.
Castro said Venezuela had guaranteed oil supplies to Cuba, but he denied exporting Cuba's socialism to Venezuela, where more than 20,000 Cubans doctors and teachers have been sent to work in the slums and countryside where Venezuela's private health services will not work.
"I do not advocate the Cubanization of other countries," he said.
Fidel, standing up in military uniform for half of his four-hour speech even though he is recovering from a broken knee, said Cuba had long prepared to defend itself from US invasion.
"Extermination by weapons of mass destruction is the only way," he said. "We are not afraid."
"Nobody was frightened here when hundreds of nuclear arms were pointing at this country in 1962," he added, in reference to the missile crisis in which Washington and Moscow came to the brink of nuclear war over Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba.