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Fidel Castro Absent From Cuba's May Day Celebrations


Ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro did not appear at May Day celebrations in Havana Tuesday, despite speculation he might appear in public for the first time since handing over power to his brother, Raul, last July.

Acting president Raul Castro sat in the place of honor and occasionally waved during the annual May Day parade. Officials say this is the third time in 48 years of rule that Fidel Castro, 80, has missed the May Day celebrations.

Mr. Castro temporarily transferred power to his brother in July before undergoing intestinal surgery. He has not reclaimed his powers, although Cuban officials and his allies in other nations say he has been gaining strength lately and participating in government decisions.

In an editorial published in Cuban state media Monday, Mr. Castro gave no indication that he planned to attend Tuesday's celebration. His article urged workers to use the marches to protest last month's release of Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles from a U.S. prison. Mr. Castro described Posada Carriles as a "monster of terrorism." This is his fourth published article in recent weeks.

Posada Carriles is wanted in Cuba on suspicion of plotting the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. A U.S. court released Posada Carriles on bail pending a trial on immigration charges. He denies any wrongdoing.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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