Cuban President Fidel Castro ended a three-day trip to Vietnam yesterday by hailing his communist counterpart but warning that US hegemony meant the world was facing a crisis. In a wide-ranging hour-long speech made without notes, Dr Castro, 76, told students and officials at Hanoi's Polytechnic University: 'The world is facing a crisis, a moral and economic crisis. This world is a world of liberalism and globalisation dominated by the US government. We have never seen events like today. If you come to Latin America or anywhere else in the world you can see that the current situation is unbearable and unsustainable.' During his speech, Dr Castro ranged across the long history of the revolutionary relationship between Havana and Hanoi, at times turning to gesture for added emphasis at large signs carrying the words of his Vietnamese counterpart, the late Ho Chi Minh. He touched on the importance of education. His translator had trouble keeping up as Dr Castro leaned into the podium and point his finger: 'Without education you won't have development in the country.' He also hailed communist Vietnam as a country of fierce fighters who stood up to powerful invaders. Cries of 'Viva Cuba' and 'Viva Fidel', rehearsed before his arrival, greeted Dr Castro as he stepped slowly on to the stage beneath banners - in Vietnamese and Spanish - lauding the Vietnamese Communist Party and the brotherhood between the two nations. Late in his speech, the Cuban president, still showing signs of fire, moved to again condemn the United States trade embargo against his country. This subject, and opposition to a US-led strike on Iraq, is generally believed to have dominated discussions during his visit. He was en route to the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kuala Lumpur and is expected to complete a tour of his Asian communist friends with a visit to China later in the week. Dr Castro has been to Vietnam three times, the last visit in 1995. He touched on the importance of education to a crowd which university officials had estimated at about one thousand, teachers and students, many holding national flags and, as they revealed during the Castro talk, mobile telephones. There was little of modernity in what the audience heard yesterday. But the appeals to unity and brotherhood were familiar to Vietnamese ears. The veteran revolutionary, who made a rallying visit to North Vietnamese troops in 1973 during the Vietnam War, told anecdotes about the hardship of the time, such as flying over ruined bridges and meeting soldiers. He congratulated Vietnam on how far the country had since come. Fourth-year student Chu Hong Minh said: 'You saw how President Fidel was welcomed to Vietnam and our university. He's like an old friend, during the war as well as in peace. Vietnam and Cuba will become more prosperous and powerful and develop the close relationship we have. 'Cuba can help Vietnam in many fields such as health and biotechnology. We need help from Cuba in training engineers and workers in the sugar industry and for the construction of roads and bridges.' The Hanoi Polytechnic has produced 60,000 engineers since it was established by Ho Chi Minh in 1956. It remained open while the bombs rained down on Vietnam during what Hanoi calls the American War. 'I was born after the war,' university economics lecturer Tran Viet Ha said. 'But when I listened to him speak about his memories of the war in Vietnam, I felt that I was meeting with an old friend.'