Friday, October 28, 2005

Maradona tells Cuba he'll lead anti-Bush march

Maradona tells Cuba he'll lead anti-Bush march
By: Reuters Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:17 AM ET

HAVANA (Reuters) - Argentine soccer hero Diego Maradona promised Cuban President Fidel Castro on Thursday he would be at the front of an anti-Bush march in Argentina next week.

U.S. President George W. Bush will attend a summit of leaders from all countries from the Americas -- except Cuba -- in Mar del Plata, Argentina, November 4-5.

"I think Bush is a murderer. ... I'm going to head the march against him stepping foot on Argentine soil," Maradona said, appearing on Cuban television with Castro.

"I promised the 'Comandante' that I would do it and I will," the 44-year-old football legend said, referring to Castro.

"For me he is a god," Maradona said of the 79-year-old left-wing Cuban leader, whom he considers a friend and a father figure who helped him kick drugs.

Maradona was in Havana to interview Castro for his weekly television show in Argentina, which has brought the fallen star back to the limelight after years battling cocaine addiction.

He thanked Cuba for giving him a haven for almost four years at a health farm where he still has a house and plans to rest when his television contract ends next year.

Maradona, one of the finest soccer players of all times, captained Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986, but drug abuse undermined his career and health.

Following an operation this year to staple his stomach and cut his ballooning weight, a much slimmer Maradona launched a new career in August as television host. His first guest was Brazilian soccer great Pele.

The Castro interview is "icing on the cake" for his top-rated show, Maradona said.

"I was missing the greatest one, and now I have him."

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