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Castro ponders Rahm Emanuel's name

HAVANA, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Fidel Castro expressed amazement in a Cuban newspaper column about White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's last name and wondered what its origins were.

"What a strange surname!" the 82-year-old ailing former Cuban dictator wrote in his column in the Communist Party newspaper Gramma.

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"It appears Spanish, easy to pronounce, but it's not," Castro wrote. "Never in my life have I heard or read about any student or compatriot with that name, among tens of thousands."

Emanuel -- sometimes spelled Emmanuel or Immanuel -- is Hebrew for "God is with us."

It is a common Christian and Jewish name that first appears in the biblical Book of Isaiah. It is featured in the popular Advent and Christmas hymn "O come, O come, Emanuel."

The name in Spanish is Manuel, usually used as a first name.

Castro wondered in his column if Rahm Emanuel's name derived from 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, "who together with Aristotle and Plato formed a trio of philosophers that have most influenced human thinking."

His column also spoke about the U.S. economic-stimulus package, which Castro said would not work.

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"Obama, Emanuel and all of the brilliant politicians and economists who have come together would not suffice to solve the growing problems of U.S. capitalist society," he wrote.

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