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A Cameo by Castro Isn't Ruled Out at Cuba Summit

September 16, 2006|From the Associated Press

HAVANA — Fidel Castro's brother stood in for him as Cuba took over the leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement on Friday, but a top official didn't rule out the possibility that the ailing revolutionary might yet appear at the meeting.

Raul Castro accepted Cuba's three-year chairmanship of the organization to a round of applause by leaders from two-thirds of the world's nations.

Castro said the world was shaped by the United States' "irrational pretensions to world dominance." Criticizing U.S. military spending, he said, "To think that a social and economic order that has proved unsustainable could be maintained by force is simply an absurd idea."

Although Fidel Castro is under doctors' orders not to preside at the summit, Cuba's foreign minister said he might appear. "His health improves continually and his convalescence is satisfactory," Felipe Perez Roque told the assembly.

The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War as a third path in a world divided by allegiances to the U.S. and Soviet Union. It has 118 members with the addition this week of Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis.

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