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Fri Dec 19 22:53:56 SAST 2014

Ailing Castro makes rare public appearance

Sapa-AP | 05 February, 2013 00:09
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaks to reporters at a polling station in Havana.
Image by: STRINGER / REUTERS

Ailing Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro made a surprise appearance in the capital Havana on Sunday to vote in parliamentary polls, expressing confidence in the revolution despite a decades-long US trade embargo.

Castro's visit to the voting precinct in Havana's El Vedado neighbourhood was the main attraction in Sunday's polls, during which Cubans elected 612 members of the National Assembly, as well as deputies of local legislatures.

"I am convinced that Cubans are really a revolutionary people," 86-year-old Castro said. "I don't have to prove it. History has already proven it. And 50 years of the US blockade have not been - nor will it be - able to defeat us."

The US slapped a commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba in 1960 after Castro's revolutionary government nationalised the properties of US citizens and corporations.

It was broadened to become a near-total embargo in 1962 as Cuba's alliance with the Soviet bloc became apparent.

Images on Cuban TV and pictures in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde showed a slightly stooped Castro with a cane in animated conversations with voters. He wore a dark shirt and a bomber jacket.

Castro also praised the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States , whose presidency Cuba formally assumed last week .

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