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Raul Castro, Not Fidel, Expected to Speak at Cuba's National Day Celebrations

Cuban state media say acting Cuban President Raul Castro will speak Thursday at celebrations marking Cuba's national day, dimming hopes that the ailing president himself, Fidel Castro, might attend.

Fidel Castro handed over power to his brother Raul nearly a year ago during a health crisis. He has not been seen in public since, although he has been filmed meeting with international visitors and has written editorials issued in the Cuban media.

In comments published Monday, Fidel Castro blamed the United States for the disappearance Sunday of two Cuban boxers taking part in the Pan-American Games. He said the United States must have paid the athletes to defect.

Last year, three Cuban Olympic boxers defected while training in Venezuela. They fled to Colombia and later signed contracts with a company in Germany.

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