Castro calls Rice 'mad'

2005-12-24 14:12

Havana - Cuban President Fidel Castro on Friday called US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice "mad" after having condemned the head of the US diplomatic mission in Havana as a "little gangster".

The communist leader's latest tirade against the United States came in response to Rice's meeting this week with a US government commission intended to prepare for a democratic transition in Cuba after Castro.

"I am going to tell you what I think about this famous commission: they are a group of shit-eaters who do not deserve the world's respect," Castro told the National Assembly.

"In this context, it does not matter if it was the mad woman who talks of transition - it is a circus, they are completely depraved, they should be pitied," added the 79-year-old Cuban leader.

While US imperialism was in its decline, Castro said, his revolution is "uncontainable and unstoppable.

"We are in transition: to socialism, to communism," Castro insisted.

The Cuban leader said it was "ridiculous for the US to threaten Cuba now" with a transition plan, when Castro's rule had survived extreme difficulties such as the economic collapse sparked by the collapse of the former socialist bloc, which until 1989 provided Cuba cut-rate fuel and food.

And Castro warned that any US military invasion of Cuba would fail.

The attack followed Castro's comments on Thursday, when he called Michael Parmly, head of the US interests section in Havana, a "little gangster" for criticising the regime at a speech marking International Human Rights Day this month.

"The Cuban regime's hurling of angry and often violent groups against pro-democratic dissidents is particularly disgusting," Parmly said, adding that such actions were similar to the Nazis.

He condemned Castro's "outrageous crimes", pointing out that one out of every five imprisoned journalists in the world is in Cuba.

Castro said during another speech to the assembly that he did not know who was worse - "that little gangster", referring to Parmly or "the previous gangster" - Parmly's predecessor, James Cason, who Castro earlier had described as a "bully".

Castro said he at first thought Parmly was a "respectful" diplomat but his opinion changed when he heard the human rights speech.