Castro Criticizes Cheney's Defense Of US Methods

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

HAVANA (AP) - Fidel Castro criticized former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for defending American interrogation methods against terror suspects, saying in comments published Wednesday that torture should never be used to extract information.

The former Cuban president accused the United States of engaging in terrorism against Cuba after the 1959 revolution he led, citing U.S.-backed plans to overthrow his government in its early years, including the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Castro's comments, which appeared in an essay posted on a government Web site Wednesday evening, were aimed at Cheney's speech last week in which he defended the counterterrorism policies of the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Cuba itself has been criticized for its human rights record.

Earlier this month, a report by the Organization of American States' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights criticized Cuba for failing to fully protect human rights. Cuban rights activists, whose work the government does not recognize but usually tolerates, estimate that about 200 political prisoners are being held on the island.

Last year, a Florida jury awarded nearly $253 million to the children of a former friend of Fidel Castro who they said was tortured and killed in a Cuban jail more than three decades ago.

Rafael del Pino Siero, who became a U.S. citizen and lived in Miami, was captured while trying to help a Cuban escape the island in 1959 and sentenced to 30 years in a Cuban prison. He died in his cell in 1977 at age 51.

The Cuban government said he hanged himself. The lawsuit filed by his children in Miami-Dade Circuit Court alleged that the Cuban government "intentionally, unlawfully, and with complete disregard for human life, tortured and killed Rafael del Pino by hanging him."

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