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Baseball win over US as Castro is 77

Havana, Aug. 14 (Reuters): Cuban President Fidel Castro celebrated his 77th birthday yesterday with a cherished present: defeat of his arch-enemy the US at the hands of Cuba’s baseball team.

The Cubans beat the US 3-1 on Tuesday night in the Dominican Republic to win the Pan American Games baseball gold medal for the ninth time in a row.

The triumphant players chanted “Viva Cuba, Viva Fidel” on the field at the end of the game and dedicated their gold medals to Castro for his birthday.

At a concert staged by Cuba’s Communist Youth on Havana's Malecon waterfront, 3,000 people watched the baseball victory on a giant screen and, at midnight, performers cut a large cake for Castro as the band played the happy birthday tune.

The Cuban leader was feted yesterday evening at Havana’s Karl Marx Theatre where he defended Cuba’s communist government, which has faced widespread international condemnation this year for cracking down on dissidents.

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