During a Nov. 17 speech at the University of Havana, Castro made the comment while questioning whether the governor had helped a suspected anti-Cuba terrorist enter the United States. Students responded with laughter.
"I'm flattered and honored," Bush replied with a smile, but then turned serious.
"I will take any criticism from Fidel Castro, of all people, as an honor given the fact that, you know, 8 million people, I believe, live on the island, 8 million people are repressed and they've been that way for 40 or 50 years," Bush said.
"To be criticized by a man like that who has repressed people for such an extended period of time is a high honor," the governor added. "He can call me whatever he wants."
In his speech, Castro insisted his comment was intended as constructive criticism.
"Forgive me for using the term 'fat little brother,"' the Cuban leader said, according to a transcript obtained by The Miami Herald. "It is not a criticism, rather a suggestion that he do some exercises and go on a diet, don't you think? I'm doing this for the gentleman's health."
Undoubtedly, the 6-foot, 4-inch, 52-year-old governor has put on a few pounds since taking office in 1999. He weighs 225 pounds, said Bush spokeswoman Alia Faraj.
The ideal weight for a man of his height, frame and age ranges from 181 to 207 pounds, according to Weight Watchers International.