HAVANA – Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro told a Thursday gathering of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic-bombing survivors to convey to the world their experiences and feelings regarding the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The 85-year-old attended the gathering for more than three hours and made the call in a speech to about 800 Japanese in the audience. It was one of the few public appearances Castro has made since he retired from all public positions last April.
Among participants at the Global Hibakusha Forum, co-organized by Peace Boat, a Japanese nongovernmental organization, and the Cuban government, were 10 survivors of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Fuminori Tamba, an associate professor at the University of Fukushima who is conducting research on the effects of radiation on local residents from the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year.
Castro heard hibakusha Hiroshi Nakamura, 80, recall his ordeal Hiroshima was bombed.
“It’s my duty to support hibakusha like you as we seek a world free of nuclear weapons,” said Castro, whose nation’s hosting of Soviet nuclear missiles almost led to an atomic war with the U.S. in the 1960s.