Cuba President Fidel Castro lashed out Monday night at a report in a U.S.-based magazine putting his net worth at $900 million, calling it "garbage" that "disgusted me."
At a nationally televised roundtable to rebut Forbes magazine, which this month released a wealth ranking of "Kings, Queens & Dictators," Castro said he reacted viscerally to the article. "I have to confess, the subject disgusted me," Castro said.
Referring to government social projects, he asked: "We did all this to make a personal fortune?" Castro spoke for less than an hour before asking other top officials, including the Central Bank president and minister of culture, to weigh in. Previously, Castro has said he considered suing Forbes for its annual list. Last year the magazine put his net worth at $550 million.
Opinions about Castro's wealth vary widely among Cuba experts. He is known to have at his disposal several homes including hunting ranches, a fleet of Mercedes and private planes, said Antonio Jorge, a Cuba specialist and professor of economics and international relations at Florida International University. "If he has that kind of luxurious lifestyle, I would think it's not past him to take money for any eventuality," he said. "I find it hard to believe that over almost 48 years he has only skimmed $900 million," Jorge said.