Castro, during an unexpected nationwide television appearance, called Powell "the commander in chief of Latin America's lackeys," Radio Havana reported Thursday.
What Castro was upset about, according to the broadcast, was the recent United Nations Human Rights Commission resolution condemning Cuba's human rights record. The resolution was narrowly approved.
Castro said the most appropriate place for that resolution was "the toilet."
He accused several Latin American nations of lacking dignity, a sense of independence and honesty in their vote against Cuba on that U.N. resolution. Castro was particularly angry at Argentina.
Castro said, "Argentine Foreign Minister Rodriguez Giavarini closely cooperated in lobbying against Cuba with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the commander in chief of Latin America's lackeys."
A State Department official said Friday: "That is absolute poppycock. It's extraordinary that Castro continues to use this outmoded Marxist idiom."
Castro thanked Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Brazil for abstaining from voting on that resolution. He praised Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for Venezuela's vote against the resolution.
At Thursday's congressional hearing, Powell gave no indication that US. policy toward Havana was about to change.
Powell said of Castro: "For most of those 42 years and the part of my career when I was in the military, he was fomenting revolution, he was fomenting insurgencies, he was trying to impose a system that was not a system of freedom, a system that would have been disastrous for many of the nations in the region. And we had to meet him; we had to respond to that.
"He's no longer the threat he was. But 12 years ago, he was a real threat trying to destabilize the region."
Powell's comment praising Castro as someone who has "done some good things for his people" didn't please Cuban American National Foundation. Its director, Jose Cardenas, said in Washington that Powell remarks were "profoundly regrettable."
"The death and misery that Fidel Castro has caused trumps a thousand times over any good he has done for the Cuban people," Cardenas said.
Powell did describe Castro as an "aging starlet" and has said on several occasions he still supported the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.
President Bush said the embargo and overall anti-Cuba policy would not change as long as Castro remains in power.
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