updated 7/8/2007 10:59:51 PM ET 2007-07-09T02:59:51

Fidel Castro decried Washington's "hypocrisy" and "total lack of ethics" in a rambling essay that analyzes the early years of his 1959 revolution and repeated U.S. attempts to assassinate him.

Cuba's recuperating 80-year-old leader saluted America's "attractive Declaration of Independence of 1776," but said it has given rise to a country bent on "world tyranny."

"Based on simple events, my purpose is to carry on demonstrating the immense hypocrisy and the total lack of ethics which characterize the actions, chaotic by nature, of the government of the United States," he wrote in the essay published Sunday.

Citing CIA documents, Castro described a failed plot to poison him "using an official of the Cuban government with access to my office," and discussed at length the events leading up to the disastrous CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961.

He said "luck and the habit of carefully observing every detail" allowed him and his fellow bearded rebels to escape capture or death at the hands of the Cuban army while hiding out in the mountains before their overthrow of dictator Fulgencio Batista in January 1959.

"I have survived numerous assassination plots," he wrote.

It was unclear if Castro was referring to information contained in a batch of internal CIA documents released last month, known collectively as the "family jewels," or simply relying on records that long ago came to light.

The essay broke a week's silence from Castro and stretched well over 10 pages. Signed Saturday afternoon and published Sunday in the Communist Youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde, it had a stream-of-consciousness style reminiscent of the lengthy speeches he gave before falling ill last summer.

But the essay was sharper grammatically and easier to follow than many of Castro's writings in recent weeks.

Castro said records prove the CIA blew up a ship loaded with grenades that Cuba purchased from Belgium as it arrived in Havana's port in March 1960.

"We know that everything was carefully planned by the Central Intelligence Agency, right from the port where the ship was loaded," he wrote.

Cuba was able to import weapons from the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia that were critical to Cuba's armed forces ahead of the Bay of Pigs incident, Castro wrote.

"It would have taken at least a year to train by traditional methods the personnel needed to use all that weaponry," he wrote. "We did it in a matter of weeks."

He said Cuba anticipated some kind of attack before the failed invasion, by a U.S.-backed force of 1,500 Cuban exiles.

"We were aware of an imminent attack, but didn't know when or how it would come."

Castro also devoted a string of paragraphs to recalling his April 1959 meeting with U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon during a trip to the U.S. -- just three months after rebels took power in Cuba.

"Not even an elementary school student would hope to receive so many lessons on democracy, anti-Communism and other matters related to the art of governing," Castro wrote with irony about the meeting.

Castro has not been seen in public for nearly a year, but life on the island has remained little-changed. Last July 31, he announced that emergency intestinal surgery was forcing him to step aside in favor of a provisional government headed by his brother Raul, the 75-year-old defense minister.

Since April, Castro has penned opinion pieces, called "Reflections of the Commander in Chief," every few days that focus on history, ideology and past antagonisms against the island from Washington, while shying away from everyday problems facing Cuba and its government.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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