Cuban President Fidel Castro says the country's economy is growing despite the U.S. government's long-standing trade embargo against the island.

The Cuban leader said Monday in a May Day speech lasting more than three hours that the current rate of growth was at 12.5 percent. Cuba, however, uses a calculation system that differs from the international standard.

As he spoke before hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Havana, Mr. Castro criticized the Bush administration for creating a transition plan for a post-Castro Cuba. Additionally, he said the U.S. characterization of his country as a state sponsor of terrorism was cynical.

Last Friday, the State Department released a report which again listed Cuba and five other countries, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism, which are subject to sanctions under U.S. law.

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