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Cuba    JESUS CHRIST 'WAS A COMMUNIST', SAYS CASTRO
Cuba's Catholic-educated President Fidel Castro, one of history's most famous communists, believes Jesus Christ shared his political faith.
    "Christ chose fishermen [to be his disciples], because he was a communist," Castro said in comments carried by state media on Friday.
    Castro, whose once-stated atheism is believed to have possibly mellowed in recent years, made the comment during a National Assembly debate on the local fishing industry.
    His brother Raul Castro -- second-in-command in the ruling Communist Party headed by Fidel Castro -- concurred entirely.
    "I think that's why they killed Jesus, for being a communist, for doing what Fidel defined as Revolution ... that is to say, changing the situation," he said.
    Fidel Castro, 73, was educated at a Jesuit-run High School in Havana. But after his 1959 Cuban Revolution, he established a socialist and officially atheist state, and declared himself a non-believer. Church-state ties were tense. But in recent years, most notably during Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Cuba in 1998, Castro has avoided defining his personal view on Christianity and preferred to insist that he respects all religions.
    He has said that legendary leftist guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara probably would have been "made a saint" if he had been a Catholic because he had "all the virtues."
   
Reuters
   
19 July 00



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