The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Castro threat to close US mission

Havana, March 7 (Reuters): Cuban President Fidel Castro threatened yesterday to close the US diplomatic mission in Havana, saying it was a breeding ground for his opponents.

Castro attacked US diplomats for actively backing Cuba’s small but growing dissident movement in a speech to the National Assembly after the rubber-stamp parliament re-elected him for another five years as head of state.

“In the face of political threats and aggression from abroad, our determination to defend our homeland and socialism will never be weakened in the slightest,” Castro, 76, dressed in a business suit instead of his trademark military fatigues, said.

Castro, the world’s longest serving leader with 44 years in power, accused the Bush administration of trying to undermine his one-party Communist state with stepped-up support for the island’s dissidents.

Cuba and the US have not had diplomatic relations for four decades and the American mission operates as the US Interests Section of the Swiss embassy in Havana.

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