Castro brands Forbes, US Govt as 'slanderers'

He has demanded an apology from the Forbes magazine for saying that he had amassed a personal wealth of $900 mn.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 15:33 IST

Cuba's President Fidel Castro has branded the US government and Forbes magazine as "liars and slanderers," and demanded an apology for saying he had amassed a personal wealth of $900 million.

"They have to ask for an apology of the world public opinion for their lies against the Cuban revolution. They cannot remain silent. They must speak up," Castro told a live radio and television broadcast on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Forbes said Castro after 47 years in power had become the seventh wealthiest ruler in the world, having stashed away $900 million by skimming profits from a Havana convention center, retail conglomerate Cimex and vaccine and pharmaceutical products firm Medicuba.

In response Castro, who turns 80 in August, a day later vowed to resign from office "if they prove that I have an account abroad."

"We are waiting for the liars and slanderers to respond," he said late on Wednesday.

"But weeks have gone by and they haven't uttered a word.

"They've painted themselves into a corner," he said, adding that world opinion at least required an explanation for "having been duped for so long."

Appearing with Castro on television, British leftist MP George Galloway said that Cubans were the only people in the entire world whose leader was penniless.

The fiery Scottish politician, a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, formerly represented British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party but now represents his own left-wing Respect party.

First Published: May 25, 2006 15:33 IST