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Fidel Castro celebrates 50th birthday of "vigilance" committees

HAVANA, Sept. 29 — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Tuesday chaired a mass rally marking the 50th birthday of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs).

The CDRs, considered as the "eyes and ears of the revolution," were created by Castro's government on Sept. 28, 1960. They now also undertake social welfare projects and assist hurricane disaster relief efforts.

Castro, dressed in his olive-green fatigues, gave an hour-long speech in front of tens of thousands of people, recalling the history of the CDRs.

He quoted from the speech he gave 50 years ago: "In the face of the imperialist aggression, we are going to implement a system of collective vigilance so that everybody knows who lives on the block, what they do, and what relations they have with the tyranny, and with whom they meet."

The former leader didn't mention the recent release of prisoners or the current economic reforms conducted by the administration of his younger brother Paul Castro, but warned against nuclear war. (PNA/Xinhua) vcs/utb

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