Fidel Castro tweets to over 100,000 followers

Fidel Castro tweets now reach a large audience. The fact that Fidel Castro tweets is news in itself.

By , Associated Press

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    Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaks during a meeting with Cuban and foreign intellectuals visiting Havana's international book fair February 15.
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Cuba's Maximum Leader is also on top in cyberspace.

A Twitter account that tweets excerpts from former President Fidel Castro's frequent musings on world affairs has passed 100,000 followers — which the government says makes it the first official Cuban-themed Twitter account to break that threshold.

The account, set up about a year ago, has sent more than 1,750 tweets with Castro's thoughts, including his fears that the world is headed for nuclear Armageddon, and his warnings that NATO is planning to invade Libya.

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"The U.S. and NATO can't resist taking advantage of the conflict in Libya to promote military intervention," read a tweet from Saturday, quoting from an opinion piece Castro wrote a few days earlier.

"In every U.S. war, like Vietnam, the most cynical justifications and measures prevailed," read another posted on Sunday.

Castro, 84, stepped down as Cuban president in 2006 — first temporarily, then permanently — ceding power to his brother Raul. He remains head of the Communist Party and often publishes opinion pieces, called "Reflections," in Cuba's state-run news media.

While Castro is a self-professed news junky who spends hours on the Internet each day, he does not send the tweets out personally, according to a story in the state-run Cubadebate web site. Instead, members of the Cubadebate staff select passages from his writings.

And while Castro's total is impressive, the government's claim that he is the most-followed Cuban Twitterer is far from undisputed. Yoani Sanchez, a dissident blogger who has gained global fame for her biting commentary about life on the island, has 109,000 followers.

Neither of them has much competition in Cuba, where less than 2 percent of the island's population uses the Internet, the lowest penetration rate in the Western Hemisphere.

Castro also trails several global figures in the Twitter race: his good friend, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has nearly 1.3 million followers; British Prime Minister David Cameron has nearly 1.8 million; and President Barack Obama has nearly 7 million.

And the news of Castro's breakthrough is unlikely to impress the world's reigning tweeting champion: With 8.6 million followers and counting, pop star Lady Gaga is on a cyberstage by herself.

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