updated 11/18/2004 11:02:03 AM ET 2004-11-18T16:02:03

Fidel Castro says the emergence of an Osama bin Laden videotape just ahead of the U.S. presidential election seemed to have been “arranged” to help President Bush.

In his first public comments about Bush’s re-election, the Cuban leader said, “We have seen too much ... trickery and shamelessness to sustain the belief that this wasn’t something arranged.”

Speaking Tuesday on the communist-run island’s nightly televised “Mesa Redonda” discussion program, Castro added, “Bin Laden makes the documentaries that decide elections.”

He did any detail on how the tape could have been timed to the election. It was broadcast by the Arab television station Al-Jazeera on Oct. 29, just ahead of the Nov. 2 election. The station did not say how it received the tape.

In the videotape, bin Laden acknowledged he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

He also said the United States must stop threatening the security of Muslims if it wants to avoid “another Manhattan.” While he did not directly warn of new attacks, the al-Qaida leader said: “There are still reasons to repeat what happened.”

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