Cuba won’t neglect defence: President

July 27th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
Havana, July 27 (DPA) Cuba will not “neglect” its defence regardless of who becomes the next US president, President Raul Castro has said. “The defence will not be neglected regardless of the results of the November elections in the US,” Castro said Saturday on the 55th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s first attempt to topple Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship.

It was the only direct reference to the US that Raul Castro made during his speech.

He called on the Cubans again to make efforts to save in order to confront the worldwide economic crisis.

Cuba has been maintaining a studied restraint in its comments over the US presidential elections after strong confrontation with the current administration of President George W. Bush.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama said months ago he was ready under certain conditions to establish dialogue with the communist island.

Since Raul Castro took over this past February from his ailing elder brother Fidel Castro, he has offered on various occasions an “olive branch” to Washington.

Last year also July 26, he insisted on his offer, although making it conditional on the end of the Bush administration.

“The new US administration will have to decide if it wants to keep the absurd, illegal and failed policy against Cuba or whether it accepts the olive branch that we offered,” said Castro a year ago.

Legendary Cuban leader Fidel Castro was again Saturday absent from the celebration. He was last seen in public on the same occasion two years ago.

Five days later, July 31 2006, he “temporarily” delegated powers on his younger brother Raul to recover from an undisclosed illness that eventually made him resign earlier this year.

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