upgrading its weapons
Agence France-Presse. From
correspondents in Havana. The
Daily Telegraph, August 28, 2007.
CUBA has been upgrading its military arsenal
since President Fidel Castro fell ill 13
months ago, to defend itself against a possible
US invasion, senior officers said today.
"In the irregular combat we would
face in Cuba in case of an invasion, the
engineering, infantry and artillery systems
we produce and repair here are of vital
importance, because they're designed for
the aggressor's direct assault," said
Lieutenant-Colonel Pascual Machado, chief
coordinator of Cuba's Military Industrial
EMI director Colonel Arturo Torres told
the Trabajadores newspaper the facilities
he runs "have increased their production
level since 1998 more than fourfold".
Weapon systems that have been upgraded
in precision targeting and destructive capabilities
include munitions, grenades, land mines
and anti-tank rockets, Trabajadores said.
As an example, the weekly said a laser-guided
targeting system called VLMA, has boosted
the AK-M automatic rifle's precision by
80-90 per cent, regardless of the shooter's
Interim Cuban President Fidel Castro, on
Cuba's July 26 national day, urged the successor
of US President George W. Bush to seek an
end to more than a half century of US-Cuban
enmity through dialogue.
Washington said talks would be possible
only if Cuba turned to democracy.
Raul, 76, who was appointed to Cuba's top
post after Fidel, 81, underwent delicate
surgery on July 31, 2006, also warned that
Cuba was ready to defend itself if needed.
Raul said special military operation Caguairan,
put in place following Castro's illness,
would finish at the end of next year - US
presidential elections take place in November
Fidel Castro, who has been writing regularly
in Cuba's leading newspapers since March,
in a June article said Cuba should continue
producing and buying weapons to defend itself
from the "growing aggression"
of the Bush administration.