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1.23.2006
  Cuba Protests 'Provacative' MLK Quotes
Fidel Castro called Sunday for a march outside the American mission to protest new electronic signs on the building facade.

The mission a week ago turned on signs with streaming text of sayings from Martin Luther King Jr. and excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Cuba is a signatory.

In a three-hour appearance on state television Sunday, the Cuban president said that, after abuse scandals at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, the U.S. has no moral authority on human rights.

"They should put those signs inside, not outside," Castro said.

The signs with streaming text on the fifth floor of the facade of the oceanfront building are the latest salvo in an ongoing billboard war between the two countries. Cuba more than a year ago erected signs outside the mission emblazoned with photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners and a huge swastika overlaid with a "Made in the U.S.A" stamp.

Castro characterized the new American signs as "provocations" and said they appeared to be aimed at breaking off the limited contact between the two governments, which have been without diplomatic relations for 45 years.

Without a full embassy, the U.S. government has an interests section here under the Swiss Embassy in Havana to handle consular affairs such as visa processing. Cuba has a similar interests section in Washington.

The march will coincide with a Tuesday court date for Luis Posada Carriles, who is held at a U.S. federal detention center in El Paso, Texas, on immigration charges.

The Cuban-born Posada, a former CIA operative, was arrested in Miami in May on charges he entered the United States illegally and is awaiting an immigration judge's ruling on whether he will be deported.

He is accused by Cuba and Venezuela of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner and of staging bombings in Havana in 1997 and 1998.

Castro also has accused Posada and his colleagues of plotting to assassinate him at a summit in Panama in November 2000. Posada and several other exiles were arrested and sentenced in Panama on lesser weapons charges, but were freed when they were pardoned in August 2004 by outgoing President Mireya Moscoso.
 
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