Tags: Castro | Praises | Powell

Castro Praises Powell

Sunday, 13 May 2001 12:00 AM

On a two-day state visit to Malaysia, the communist leader not only had good words for Powell but also praised religious beliefs saying that he had become "more rational" about religion "after observing the strength it brings to believers."

According to Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper, Castro made these comments while visiting the world's tallest Petronas twin towers in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lampur.

When a Malaysian reporter asked a question about Powell's comments on the situation in the Middle East, Castro said: "I do not think he is a warmonger. He is the only one who has dared to say that Cuba has done something good."

But he hastily added that Powell was "in the government now and has to pursue the same line as his government."

Powell last month told U.S. lawmakers that Castro had done good things for his people, praising the Cuban leader's education policy. These were first good words for the communist leader from a senior U.S. official in four decades.

However, he said Castro remained "trapped in a time wrap," adding that the Bush administration will continue to stay away from Cuba.

Castro, who visited three major Muslim nations of Algeria, Iran and Malaysia this week, also showed a soft corner for religion.

He said he had become more rational when discussing religion after observing the strength it brought to believers.

"I find it much more logical now to see people having that strength of faith inside," he said. "It is easier to understand all the comfort they take in their religion."

Castro said he had learnt a lot while on his recent trip to Iran and found that women there were much more respected than those in the West.

"There is nothing wrong or bad about Malaysia either...everything is good about it," he said.

Castro marveled at being in the world's tallest building, quipping: "I felt closer to heaven up there."

Castro, who returns to Havana on Sunday, said Malaysia and Cuba shared many things, "one of them is that they are constantly criticized by the Western powers."

"I also learned another important lesson...there are two rebels in the world, one is (the Malaysian Prime Minister) Mahathir Mohammed and the other is me."

However, his apparently good feelings toward Powell did not preven the Cuban leader from pouring sarcasm at the United States.

Replying to a question about the United States being voted out of the U.N. Human Rights Commission and the International Narcotics Control Board, he said: "If anyone gets upset, I find it logical because it is true that the world has been very unfair to the United States...of course you must understand that being voted out is abusive against the U.S."

Castro was also asked if Cuba had learnt anything from the Malaysian experience, to which he replied: "A very important lesson and it is that when you do things right, you get as far as you intend to."

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Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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On a two-day state visit to Malaysia, the communist leader not only had good words for Powell but also praised religious beliefs saying that he had become more rational about religion after observing the strength it brings to believers. According to Malaysia's New...
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2001-00-13
Sunday, 13 May 2001 12:00 AM
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