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Fidel Castro urges North Korea to avoid nuclear warfare

April 05, 2013|By Emily Alpert
  • Former Cuban president Fidel Castro, left. sitting next to his brother and current president, Raul, as Cuba's new National Assembly meets February 24.
Former Cuban president Fidel Castro, left. sitting next to his brother… (Ismael Francisco / AFP/Getty…)

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro urged North Korea to steer clear of atomic warfare, saying Koreans faced “one of the most grave risks of nuclear war” since the Cuban missile crisis half a century ago.

North Korea has stepped up its belligerent talk, recently declaring it had entered a state of war with South Korea and threatening a nuclear attack on the United States. Analysts say North Korea is not yet capable of carrying out such a strike, but the escalating threats have grabbed global attention.

Castro said he delivered his message as a friend, recalling “the honor of knowing” former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, “a historic, strikingly valiant and revolutionary figure” and the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

The impassioned message is the first Castro has written in Cuban state media since June 2012, according to the Associated Press.

“If war breaks out there, the people on both sides of the [Korean] peninsula will be terribly slaughtered, without any benefit for either of them,” Castro wrote in the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Furthermore, “it would not be just to forget that such a war would affect, in a special way, more than 70% of the world's population," he said.

The former president led Cuba when the United States and Russia teetered on the brink of nuclear war in 1962. The crisis was ultimately averted; Castro later became a fervent opponent of nuclear warfare.

Castro also warned the United States that it has the duty to head off an attack and that if nuclear war breaks out it will make President Obama "look the most sinister person in the history of the United States." 

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North Korea urges foreign embassies to evacuate, Russian official says

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