Castro Angry to Be on Forbes 'Rich List'

Most people would be flattered if Forbes magazine (search) estimated their personal fortune at $550 million — but Cuban President Fidel Castro (search) is not, apparently, one of them.

Cuba's embassy in Mexico issued a stinging rebuke on Wednesday of the Forbes article without mentioning the magazine by name, calling it "a repugnant example of a campaign of lies" by "an American magazine of decaying credibility."

"It is a clumsy slander and a repugnant example of a campaign of lies perpetrated in the United States with the sole aim of justifying the criminal blockade of Cuba," the embassy said in a press statement.

Embassy officials could not immediately explain why the statement was released in Mexico, rather than in Havana, the Cuban capital.

In a story published Tuesday about the fortunes of rulers and heads-of-state, Forbes estimated the communist leader's net worth at $550 million, but acknowledged "these estimates are more art than science."

"In the past, we have relied on a percentage of Cuba's gross domestic product to estimate Fidel Castro's fortune," the article stated. "This year we have used more traditional valuation methods, comparing state-owned assets Castro is assumed to control with comparable publicly traded companies."

The magazine said Castro "derives his fortune from a web of state-owned businesses," including a convention center and retail and pharmaceutical businesses.

The embassy denied that, saying "income from Cuban state-owned companies are used exclusively for the benefit of the people, to whom they belong."

While the embassy did not dispute Forbes' estimate that Castro "travels exclusively in a convoy of black Mercedes-Benzes (search), it claimed Cuba was the only country in Latin America to fight inequality.