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Castro Leads Six-Hour Anti-US Protest - 2004-05-15


Cuban President Fidel Castro has led a massive, six-hour protest in Havana against a U.S. plan to tighten economic sanctions against Cuba.

Government officials say more than one million people took part in Friday's demonstration along Havana's Malecon Boulevard, near the U.S. Interests Section. Many of the marchers wore red shirts and waved Cuban flags.

President Castro called for the march after President Bush announced measures to tighten the U.S. embargo on the island. Mr. Bush said the United States intends to direct nearly $60 million over the next two years to help, "hasten the day when the Cuban people will be free."

The plan calls for aircraft to broadcast U.S. government-sponsored radio and television programs into Cuba, in an attempt to avoid electronic jamming by the Castro government.

It also includes restrictions on cash remittances and family visits by Cuban-Americans to relatives on the island.

Mr. Castro, wearing his trademark green military uniform and cap, told Friday's protest Mr. Bush's measures were ruthless and cruel. He said the United States has no right to intervene in Cuba's affairs.

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