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Cuba has begun its annual flurry of military exercises to counter a US invasion.
Officials said, amid some uncertainty about the communist country's leadership outlook.

A political and military rally, led by Commander Juan Almeida, was held Wednesday for troops from the islands' central provinces.

Cuba maintains that since ailing president Fidel Castro, 81, took sick one year and a half ago, US President George W. Bush has boosted US "aggression" aimed at forcing a political transition.

The mobilization also comes as Cubans are anxious for news on whether Fidel Castro will resume power or formally step aside.

Interim president Raul Castro said January 20 the National Assembly would elect Cuba's next president February 24, amid speculation ailing Fidel Castro might not be its choice for the first time in almost five decades.

Fidel Castro who has been sidelined from power for nearly 18 months following major intestinal surgery, was among 614 uncontested candidates for the legislature in uncontested elections on Sunday, which will name 31 lawmakers to the Council of State that chooses the president.


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