- The Washington Times - Friday, July 5, 2002

HAVANA Cuba's communist government, despite friction with Washington, announced an unprecedented Fourth of July observance to illustrate the regime's respect for Americans and their traditions.
The Communist Party newspaper Granma said yesterday that the cultural event would be held at the Karl Marx theater later in the day and would feature music and poetry in honor of the "noble" American people.
"The cultural, spiritual and moral legacy of the American people is also the patrimony of Cuba and of the Cuban people," Granma said.
No other details were provided, and it wasn't known if President Fidel Castro would attend or if the event would be open to international journalists.
The government also announced that its evening television program would be dedicated to "the historic significance of the United States' Independence Day."
Mr. Castro himself often reaches out to Americans, saying his feelings for them have nothing to do with his government's problems with U.S. administrations.
Meanwhile Cuban police maintained heavier patrols along the Malecon coastal highway yesterday after several days of rumors that Cuban exiles planned to sail boats to the edge of the nation's waters to pick up refugees seeking to flee the island.
Both Cuban and U.S. authorities sought to puncture the talk, and there were no reports of illegal attempts by Cubans to sail north.

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