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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 15:31 GMT
Cuban leader re-elected

By Stephen Gibbs
BBC correspondent in Havana

Cuban President Fidel Castro
Castro has outlasted nine US presidents

The world's longest serving political leader, Cuban President Fidel Castro, has been re-elected for another five-year term.

Members of Cuba's National Assembly approved the 76-year-old leader's nomination as president.

He was the sole candidate.

With an ease which many world leaders might envy, Fidel Castro comfortably secured his sixth presidential term.

His nomination had been put to the 609 members of Cuba's National Assembly.

They duly lined up to vote in secret, and all voted for Mr Castro.

Anti-US attack

The veteran revolutionary has been the unchallenged leader of Cuba since 1959.

Despite numerous assassination attempts and a US economic embargo intended to remove him from power, he has outlasted nine American presidents.

Speaking after his re-election, he launched a blistering attack on the current US administration's policy towards Iraq.

He said the US should not be allowed to intimidate the world, and promised to continue to lead the people of Cuba for as long as they wished.

He also said that he now understood it was not his destiny to rest at the end of his life.

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