Castro dares Reagan to blockade

Cuban President Fidel Castro has defied President-elect Ronald Reagan to set up a naval blockade of the island. In an extremely strong challenge, the Cuban leader took note of statements made by Mr. Reagan during the recent elections and said that "if they dare invade our country, more Yankees will die than in the Second World War."

Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that Dr. Castro is clearly aware of the contentious approach that the Reagan administration is likely to adopt tooward Cuba and may feel that the best defense against that possibility is a strong offense -- in words.

The speech at a million-strong rally marked the end of the congress of the Cuban Communist Party. Dr. Castro was reelected leader for a further five years , while his brother Raul was again chosen his deputy.

The party's central committee was expanded to include more peasants, workers, and women. Noting the unrest in Poland, Dr. Castro said that a Communist party must not set itself apart from the masses.

All members of the powerful Politburo of the party were reelected and three additional members chosen, but there were changes in the nine-member party secretariat. Among those dropped were Blas Roca Calderio, who led the Cuban Communist Party before Dr. Castro came to power, and Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Cuba's No. 3 man. The changes do not appear to have much political significance; Mr. Roca has been ill and Dr. Rodriguez retains his other functions.

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