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Castro, First Lady Under Same Roof

May 14, 1998

GENEVA (AP) _ Coincidence and a World Health Organization meeting had Fidel Castro and Hillary Rodham Clinton staying at the same hotel Thursday, but the hotel manager said any clash of ideologies would be ``no problem.″

``Everyone is in their own place and it works very well,″ said Herbert Schott, director of Geneva’s luxury Hotel Intercontinental.

The hotel, which has played host to President and Mrs. Clinton on a previous visit to Geneva, is favored by government security services worldwide.

If need be, Schott said, the hotel has separate elevators and exits to keep Mrs. Clinton and Castro apart.

He also insisted it was ``pure chance″ that Castro was staying in the same suite that fellow revolutionary Ernesto ``Che″ Guevara occupied during a visit in March 1964, when he was Cuban economics minister.

Cuban officials chose the suite from several offered by the hotel, and only subsequently did he discover from hotel records that it was where Guevara had stayed.

Castro made a point of thanking him for reserving the suite, which brought back ``good memories,″ Schott said.

The 70-year-old Castro, an ex-smoker, told reporters he appreciated the Swiss chocolate cigars the hotel manager ordered put in his room.

Castro said he hoped Switzerland would promote Cuban cigars but conceded ``the fact that they have chocolate cigars is healthier.″

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