US journalist visits Fidel Castro, Cuban Jewish community

New images show Americans visiting Havana aquarium as part of the 84-year-old former leader's current media blitz.

August 31, 2010 17:52
1 minute read.
 Fidel Castro,US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg

castro and americans 311. (photo credit: AP)


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Cuba on Tuesday released pictures of Fidel Castro with an American magazine correspondent and a Washington-based expert on Latin American policy.

The images show Cuba's 84-year-old former leader with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Julia E. Sweig from the Council on Foreign Relations during a visit Monday to the Havana aquarium — Castro's second trip there during a media blitz that has seen him making near daily appearances.

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Goldberg is a national correspondent for the magazine who has written on the Middle East and Iran.

For months, Castro has warned of nuclear war that would pit Washington and Israel against Iran and would also involve an attack on North Korea. He even said he expected fighting to begin earlier this summer, but has since said those doomsday predictions may have been somewhat premature.

The Council on Foreign Relations is a nonpartisan think tank with offices in New York and Washington, and Sweig is a longtime scholar on the US-Cuba relationship.

A report on the encounter in state media provided no details on what was discussed.

The former Cuban leader underwent emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006 and disappeared from public view for four years, recuperating from an undisclosed illness in a secret location. But he has been popping up everywhere of late. He even took in the dolphin show at the aquarium on July 15.

Also accompanying Castro at the aquarium were leaders of Cuba's Jewish community.

Alan P. Gross, a 60-year-old native of Potomac, Maryland, was working for a firm contracted by the US Agency for International Development when he was arrested Dec. 3 in Havana and sent to the high-security Villa Marista prison.

Cuba says Gross was distributing illegal satellite phones, but he apparently has not yet been charged with a crime, nearly nine months after his arrest.

Gross' family says he was distributing communications equipment to the island's Jewish community for humanitarian reasons.

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