upgrading its weapons in case of U.S. invasion
By Agence France-Presse,
News, 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
U.S. invasion, senior officers told Trabajadores
weekly on August 27.
"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
Lt. Col. Pascual Machado, chief coordinator
of Cuba's Military Industrial Firm (EMI).
EMI director Col. Arturo Torres, told the
weekly that the facilities he runs "have
increased their production level since 1998
more than four-fold."
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 percent to 90 percent, regardless of
the shooter's skill level.
Interim Cuban President Raul Castro, on
Cuba's July 26 national day, urged the successor
of U.S. President George W. Bush to seek
an end to more than a half-century of U.S.-Cuban
enmity through dialogue.
Washington said talks would be possible
only if Cuba turned to democracy.
Raul Castro, 76, who was appointed to Cuba's
top post after Fidel Castro, 81, underwent
delicate surgery on July 31, 2006, also
warned that Cuba was ready to defend itself
Raul Castro said special military operation
Caguairan, put in place following Fidel
Castro's illness, would finish at the end
of 2008 - U.S. presidential elections take
place in November of next year.
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.