San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Castro Defends Chávez’s Criticism of Spain

HAVANA – Cuban leader Fidel Castro defended in a commentary published Nov. 11 the “devastating criticism” of Europe made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez at the Latin America-Iberia Summit without directly referring to the confrontation between the South American leader and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos.

“Chávez’s criticism of Europe was devastating,” Castro said in his latest commentary.

The Venezuelan President renewed his criticism of Spain Nov. 10 during the final session of the summit in Santiago by taking on former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, whom he called a “fascist,” a remark that provoked Zapatero and the Spanish king to personally reproach him.

Castro said that, also in the remarks of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Bolivian leader Evo Morales, “the voices of Sandino and of the thousand-year-old cultures of this hemisphere were heard” (see sperate story).

Castro, who has been convalescing from a serious intestinal ailment since July 2006, said that legendary guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, whose 40th year of death was commemorated this year, would “feel pride at the pronouncements of several revolutionary and valiant leaders.”

“With profound sadness I heard the speeches that were given from traditional positions on the left at the Latin America- Iberia Summit in Santiago,” Castro said.

Castro also criticized the speech of Salvadoran President Tony Saca, who defended the free-trade agreements his country had signed.

“The speech made by the president of El Salvador … provoked nausea,” Castro said, adding that “capitalism is a system governed by blind, destructive and tyrannical laws imposed on the human species.”

The 81-year-old Castro has not appeared in public since July 26, 2006, and the last time images of him were broadcast on television was in the middle of last month on Chávez’s weekly show, which he was hosting from the Cuban city of Santa Clara.


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