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Cuba Concludes Five Days of Military Exercises


Cuba has completed five days of military exercises in preparation for what it says is a possible attack by the United States.

The maneuvers included military personnel from the west and central regions of the country. Military aircraft and tanks were also part of the training exercises, known as Moncada 2007, which ended Friday.

Earlier this year, ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro said in an article published by the state-run "Granma" newspaper that his country will continue to build up its defenses against what he said are threats by the United States. He accused President Bush of wanting to invade the island.

Cuba and the United States have had no formal relations in more than 40 years. President Bush has said the longstanding U.S. embargo on Cuba will remain in place, as long as he termed "the regime" maintains its monopoly on the political and economic life of the Cuban people.

Mr. Bush also challenged the international community to support what he calls the democratic movement growing in Cuba, and to help the country become a free society.

Fidel Castro and the Cuban foreign minister, Felipe Perez Roque, said the recent Bush speech advocated what they called the reconquest of Cuba by force.

Mr. Castro has not been seen publicly since July of last year, when he underwent intestinal surgery and handed power to his younger brother, Raul, on a provisional basis. Details of Fidel Castro's health are a state secret.

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