HAVANA - As world leaders celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany in Moscow’s Red Square on Monday, Communist Cuba held its own parade and accused the United States of using "fascist" policies to dominate the world.
The president of Cuba’s National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, denounced the world’s only superpower for employing military force unilaterally in an apparent reference to the US invasion of Iraq.
"They practice a fascist military doctrine and proclaim their right to attack anyone when they please, using their powerful military machine, without any justification," he said in a speech marking the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Germany’s Third Reich.
"The Fourth Reich will be defeated. The 21st century will see the final defeat of fascism," Alarcon said, using the occasion to lay into the United States, Cuba’s longtime foe.
The ceremony at a monument to Soviet soldiers outside Havana was attended by Lyubov K Sliska, first deputy speaker of the Russian Duma, and Cuban Defence Minister Raul Castro.
Cuban troops fired a 21-cannon salute and paraded before the burial site of 67 Soviet soldiers who died -- in accidents or from natural causes-- while serving in Cuba from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
Sliska and Raul Castro, President Fidel Castro’s younger brother and designated successor, laid flowers at the monument, while diplomats from Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine looked on.
Russia withdrew its last troops from Cuba in 1993, two years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 2002 dismantled its Cold War-era electronic espionage station on the island.
The Cuban government frequently uses references to Nazi Germany to attack the US government.
A large billboard opposite the US diplomatic mission on Havana’s waterfront shows scenes of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, with a large swastika and the words "Fascists: made in USA."