Castro condemns Uribe's appointment to flotilla probe panel

13:17, August 17, 2010      

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Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe smiles before casting his vote during legislative elections in Bogota March 14, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro Monday criticized the appointment of ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to a UN panel probing Israel's attack on a humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza in May.

"That decision gave Uribe -- accused of war crimes -- total impunity, as if a country full of mass graves containing the corpses of murdered people, some with as many as 2,000 victims, and seven Yankee military bases, plus the rest of the Colombian military bases at its service, had nothing to do with terrorism and genocide," Castro said in his article entitled "The UN, Impunity and War," published Monday by official media.

At least nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed in the Israeli attack on a fleet carrying aid supplies to besieged Gaza on May 31.

The attack "occurred in international waters and at some considerable distance from the coast," Castro said in the article for his column "Reflections of Fidel."

Uribe, however, rebuffed Castro's accusation by saying that the former Cuban leader was offering political protection for the "terrorist guerrillas."

Under Uribe's 2002-2010 presidency, the Colombian government forces had a series of military victories over the rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Uribe took office on Aug. 10 as a member of the UN committee to investigate the flotilla attack. Other members of the committee include former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, Israeli representative Yosef Ciejanover and Turkish representative Ozden Sanberk.

The appointment has drawn international criticism although UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has defended his decision.

Castro said the UN secretary-general was "fulfilling orders from above," which international media say apparently alludes to the United States.

Human rights organizations have also criticized the appointment of Uribe, urging Ban to reconsider the decision.

Castro, who turned 84 on Friday, returned to public life about a month ago, saying that he has now completely recovered from a serious illness that forced him to hand over power to his brother Raul Castro in 2006.

Source: Xinhua


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