September 4, 2000

Rudy fumes over Fidel

By Maria Alvarez. New York Post. September 2, 2000

Mayor Giuliani didn't hide his hatred for Fidel Castro yesterday after learning the Cuban president will be in the city next week - calling him a murderous dictator who shouldn't be romanticized.

Castro is returning to New York after a five-year absence to attend the United Nations Millennium Summit next week, joining 158 heads of state for the largest U.N. powwow in history.

"Fidel Castro is a murderer," the mayor said while announcing the city's security plans for the three-day event.

"America should not fool itself into thinking he is some kind of benign dictator.

"The whole reinvention of Fidel Castro is part of this philosophy that has misled America in the past," Giuliani said.

It wasn't the first time the mayor has dissed the Cuban strongman.

Giuliani made Castro persona non grata at City Hall and other gala events during the United Nations' 50th anniversary celebration in 1995.

"I wouldn't invite him anywhere," the mayor said at the time. "What Fidel Castro has done to the Cuban people, including friends of mine, is an outrage of this century."

The mayor extended his wrath to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat the same year, saying: "As far as I'm concerned, some of them I think are despicable, horrible human beings ... you can make the same point about Arafat."

Giuliani barred Arafat from a concert at Lincoln Center, an action that prompted a sharp rebuke from the White House.

No matter the mayor's feelings, all the heads of state will get the best NYPD protection while they are in the Big Apple.

"They'll get protected better than any other place else in the world," Giuliani said.

About 6,000 cops will be on duty at the 91 demonstrations planned throughout the week. And the mayor said he's prepared to call in all of the city's 41,000 cops if necessary.

Deputy Police Chief Daniel Oates said the NYPD doesn't expect riots similar to those that plagued the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle last fall.

"We have not detected any significant activism similar to what was seen in Seattle," Oates said.

The demonstrations will be concentrated near Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the U.N. building. The biggest, a rally against the Iranian regime, is expected to attract 10,000 protesters.

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