AP Archive

Cuban leader Fidel Castro has condemned western nations at a summit in Italy, accusing them of ignoring world starvation.

The Cuban leader is in Rome for the World Food Summit.
While in Rome, Castro will also meet Pope John Paul II on Tuesday morning.

Cuba’s President Fidel Castro arrived in decidedly nonsocialist style in a blue Maserati at the U-N Food and Agriculture Organisation (F-A-O) summit in Rome on Saturday.

Security has been exceptionally tight at the conference.

Such is Castro’s aura that even delegates wanted his autograph.

The Cuban leader did not pull his punches when it was his turn to speak, condemning the western capitalist system for contributing to world starvation.

SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)

Mr President, Mr Director General of F-A-O, excellencies. The hunger, inseparable companion of the poor, comes from unequal distribution of wealth, an injustice of this world. The rich one know no hunger. (cutaway) Intervention forces are formed to prevent the death of hundreds of thousands of people in eastern Zaire – what is it that we are going to do to prevent the death of one million people each month in the rest of the world? It is capitalism, neo-liberalism, the laws of a wild market, external debt, underdevelopment, unequal exchange, that kills people in the world.

SUPER CAPTION: Fidel Castro, Cuban Leader

Later Fidel Castro met with Italy’s Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Deputy Prime Minister Walter Veltroni.

Following weeks of speculation, the Vatican has announced that Pope John Paul II will meet with the Castro at the Vatican on Tuesday morning.

Castro is one of the few leaders the globe-trotting Pope has not yet met in his 18-year pontificate.

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