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Cuba slams 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' for Fidel Castro virtual assassination

The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has always seemed unruffled by the myriad of unsuccessful plots to kill him. "I think I hold the dubious record of having been the target of more assassination attempts than any politician, in any country, in any era," he once said. "The day I die, nobody will believe it."

Now computer-games players all over the world are being given a chance to succeed where so many have failed -- and the Cuban government has taken a dim view.

'Call of Duty: Black Ops', which was released on Tuesday, gives gamers the chance to take part in an imaginary attempt by a CIA hit squad to hunt down and kill Fidel Castro.

The island's state-run media yesterday launched an attack on the game, claiming America was trying to initiate a virtual assassination of the Cuban leader through a game that would turn children into "sociopaths".

"What the US couldn't accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually," was the opinion of Cubadebate, a state-run news website. "This new video game is doubly perverse. On the one hand, it glorifies the illegal assassination attempts the US government planned against the Cuban leader . . . and on the other, it stimulates sociopathic attitudes in North American children and adolescents."

'Call of Duty: Black Ops', the latest game from the highly popular first-person-shooter franchise of US publisher Activision is set at the height of the Cold War with players taking part in covert missions against communist enemies of the US such as the Soviet Union, Cuba and Vietnam.

The opening level is set in the hours leading up to the Bay of Pigs invasion, the disastrous 1961 attempt by Cuban exiles and the US military to topple the Castro regime.

Although the game's mission is fictional, for the Cuban regime it clearly contains shades of reality a little too close for comfort -- there were allegedly hundreds of attempts on Mr Castro's life. But the island's leadership faces a struggle to stop the game. Last night, Activision announced it had posted $630m sales in the 24 hours after it went on the market, a record for any entertainment release.

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