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Back on TV, Fidel Castro sticks to familiar themes

By David Ariosto, CNN
Ex-Cuban President Fidel Castro visits Havana's aquarium on Thursday.
Ex-Cuban President Fidel Castro visits Havana's aquarium on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Fidel Castro accuses U.S. of wanting to replace nukes with super conventional weapons
  • NEW: "Nothing remains," he says of such a weapons strike. "Everything disappears."
  • NEW: Castro warns against nuclear war in the Middle East
  • His talk follows attendance at a dolphin show
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Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro appeared on the island's state-run television for the second time in less than a week on Friday, using the forum to again blast U.S. arms policy.

"The Yankees want to offer a world without nuclear arms," he said, adding that the United States wants to substitute conventional arms instead.

But a world limited to conventional arms would leave the United States in a position of power, he said. The 83-year-old former Cuban leader cited as an example the power of a Trident submarine to launch "in two minutes" a missile made of a material stronger than steel that could travel at speeds up to 25,000 kmh (15,000 mph).

Once it hits, "nothing remains," he said. "Everything disappears."

He added, "These are the conventional arms that remain -- what focus of resistance [could withstand them]? If they use them on strategic locations, nothing remains! That is the world without nuclear arms that they are offering."

Asked about the possibility of a war against Iran, Castro grabbed a sheaf of newspapers from a pile and read aloud headlines warning of dire regional and global consequences.

As he sat beside Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Castro took questions from the dozens of people who had crowded into a room at Cuba's Foreign Ministry in Havana and answered them in the long-winded fashion that is familiar to any Cubans who remember his talks from before an illness sidelined him in 2006.

After largely staying away from the cameras for years, former Cuban President Fidel Castro has made five public appearances in less than a week.

The elderly Castro attended a dolphin show at Havana's aquarium on Thursday, according to the island's evening newscast and daily state-run newspaper.

The state-run newspaper, Granma, showed images of the aging Cuban revolutionary greeting aquarium employees and watching scuba divers interact with dolphins.

Photos of the octogenarian at a scientific center were published last Saturday showing his first public appearance since his illness in 2006 forced him to hand the reins of power to his younger brother Raul.

Fidel Castro was interviewed on Cuba's evening television newscast on Monday, when he slammed U.S. foreign policy with North Korea and in the Middle East and warned of a potential nuclear war with Iran. He also appeared Tuesday at an economics institute.

Friday's latest appearance by the former Cuban leader comes on the heels of the first release of political prisoners to Spain. The group of seven dissidents railed against the Castro brothers and the condition of their imprisonment during a news conference in the Spanish capital on Thursday.

The group is among 52 political prisoners expected to be released in coming months, in what would be the largest Cuban prisoner release in more than a decade.

They represent roughly one-third of all known political prisoners left on the island and are the remainder of a group of 75 dissidents arrested in March 2003 during a crackdown on government opposition under then-president Fidel Castro.

CNN's David Ariosto contributed to this report.

 
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