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Castro in a rum affair

Havana, Dec. 16 (Reuters): Cuban President Fidel Castro assured anxious island residents yesterday his recent criticism of the national drink, rum, did not mean prices were going up, or that he was contemplating prohibition.

Castro, in power for 43 years and with a reputation for getting his way, caused a stir earlier this month when he complained that Cubans’ penchant for the drink was a leading cause of accidents and other social ills.

“Some people have misinterpreted my words concerning alcoholism,” Castro said yesterday, during a nationally broadcast speech opening a community health clinic.

“We are not going to establish a dry law... and at no point did I say we would raise the price of rum.”

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