Former Cuban President Fidel Castro
warned of worsening ties between the U.S. and Iran in his first television
interview in at least three years, after overseeing a transfer of power to his
brother Raul following surgery in 2006.
The 83-year-old leader of Cuba’s
1959 communist revolution spoke slowly and clearly on a state-run news show
from an office chair while leafing through a notebook in his lap.
The role of the former strongman
over his brother’s government has been the subject of constant analysis by Cuba
watchers since his abdominal surgery four years ago. Castro publishes his views
on global events in newspaper columns and continues to meet with visiting
foreign leaders including Ecuador President Rafael Correa and Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez, who calls him a revolutionary father figure.
Castro has recently warned in his
newspaper columns of plans by the U.S. and Israel to lead an attack on Iran
over its nuclear energy program that could spill into a world war.
“If there’s an attack on Iran by
Israel and the U.S., there’s no way to prevent it from becoming a nuclear war,”
Castro, wearing a plaid shirt and grey jacket, said during the interview on the
“Mesa Redonda” news program. “Iran isn’t a divided country and the U.S. would
meet a lot of resistance in an attack.”
Castro said that he spends most of
his days reading news clips of more than 200 pages in length to keep up with
The former president, who didn’t
discuss U.S.-Cuba ties, was likely trying to send a message that he’s still
firmly in control of decision making in the regime, said Peter Hakim, president
emeritus of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue, a policy research
“This is a way to suggest that Fidel is still
around and watching and that no one should think that there’s a major change,”
he said. “It’s a good message if they want to show not to expect more change,
bring out Fidel.”