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Fidel Castro to Obama: We don’t need your ‘presents’

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Cuban President Raul Castro, right, lifts up the arm of President Barack Obama at the conclusion of their joint news conference at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba.

HAVANA >> Fidel Castro responded Monday to President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Cuba with a long, bristling letter recounting the history of U.S. aggression against Cuba, writing that “we don’t need the empire to give us any presents.”

The 1,500-word letter in state media titled “Brother Obama” was Castro’s first response to the president’s three-day visit last week, in which the American president said he had come to bury the two countries’ history of Cold War hostility. Obama did not meet with the 89-year-old Fidel Castro on the trip but met several times with his 84-year-old brother Raul Castro, the current Cuban president.

Obama’s visit was intended to build irreversible momentum behind his opening with Cuba and to convince the Cuban people and the Cuban government that a half-century of U.S. attempts to overthrow the Communist government had ended, allowing Cuban to reform its economy and political system without the threat of U.S. interference.

Fidel Castro writes of Obama: “My modest suggestion is that he reflects and doesn’t try to develop theories about Cuban politics.”

Castro, who led Cuba for decades before handing power to his brother in 2008, was legendary for his hours-long, all-encompassing speeches. His letter reflects that style, presenting a sharp contrast with Obama’s tightly focused speech in Havana. Castro’s letter opens with descriptions of environmental abuse under the Spaniards and reviews the historical roles of Cuban independence heroes Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo and Maximo Gomez.

Castro then goes over crucial sections of Obama’s speech line by line, engaging in an ex-post-facto dialogue with the American president with pointed critiques of perceived slights and insults, including Obama’s failure to give credit to indigenous Cubans and Castro’s prohibition of racial segregation after coming to power in 1959.

Quoting Obama’s declaration that “it is time, now, for us to leave the past behind,” the man who shaped Cuba during the second half of the 20th century writes that “I imagine that any one of us ran the risk of having a heart attack on hearing these words from the President of the United States.”

Castro then returns to a review of a half-century of U.S. aggression against Cuba. Those events include the decades-long U.S. trade embargo against the island; the 1961 Bay of Pigs attack and the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner backed by exiles who took refuge in the U.S.

He ends with a dig at the Obama administration’s drive to increase business ties with Cuba. The Obama administration says re-establishing economic ties with the U.S. will be a boon for Cuba, whose centrally planned economy has struggled to escape from over-dependence on imports and a chronic shortage of hard currency.

The focus on U.S-Cuba business ties appears to have particularly rankled Castro, who nationalized U.S. companies after coming to power in 1959 and establishing the communist system into which his brother is now introducing gradual market-based reforms.

“No one should pretend that the people of this noble and selfless country will renounce its glory and its rights,” Fidel Castro wrote. “We are capable of producing the food and material wealth that we need with with work and intelligence of our people.”

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  • Fidel’s tunnel vision reminds me of the same attitude on the part of some of our Hawaiian leaders, who deem themselves lords and masters of these islands. Maybe O decided to “liberate” another island after realizing his destiny to “liberate” Hawaii from “occupation” was not going to happen due to a little thing known as the federal constitution?

  • Obama’s timing is perfect. Both Castros will be gone in a few years and the movement to solve the differences between Cuba and the U.S. will have been put in motion.

    • Maybe Obama can use some of that “perfect timing” on his Tango and when to stand up for the stadium wave while hundreds of people are getting murdered, INCLUDING Americans, by ISIS and the Taliban terrorists; and the next San Bernadino attack in the US.

      • He did…by ordering the attack that took out the ISIS #2 and finance minister. He was waving buh-bye to a major terrorist and dancing a tango on his corpse. Dude can multitask, unlike idi0ts like you.

        • Special forces took out Bin Laden. Did killing Bin Laden end or reduce terrorism? Rhetorical question, the answer is NO. If you haven’t figured it out by now, terrorist are like cockroachs and even if you kill the #1, #2, or #3 cockroach, there are fully capable people hiding in the shadows ready to take over. On top of which, it is NOT like a snake with a single head that has to think for the rest of its body, there are always multiple brain centers waiting in the wings and throughout the rest of its body. Most of the terrorist cells are independent and have already been given their directive to kill soft targets and now they lie in wait everywhere in the western world INCLUDING the US.

      • Didn’t we just killed a number two in ISIL. It seems to me that Obama is doing his own share of killing. The fact is the Islamic state is being rolled back, and all they have left now are lash back attacks in Europe. You are correct that in war you have casualties, but so long as the US continues it’s drone war, special operations, treatning of friendly the nations, and targeted killings know I can see we’re not doing our part

  • of course they don’t need our presents. Everyone was given a rice cooker 6 years ago. Doctors receive a well deserved raise and depending on your specialty is a wage of 40-60 dollars a month. Got AIDS? In cuba you would be quarantined, also known as prison, to die. All political crap aside, for human right issues alone, our government is going to reward a despot leader with no benefit to us.

  • One must understand Fidel is a hollow shell of the man he used to be. Suffering from the advanced effects of aging, Dementia, Alzheimers, Senility, and more, Fidel hasn’t got a clue what he is saying. Babbling like a brook, the man needs serious mental help and medication.

    Sooner Fidel passes the better for everyone.

    • Fidel’s rant is for consumption by the last of the revolutionaries. Obama has effectively laid the groundwork for the death of the Cuban revolution by capitalism. There is no going back as the vast population of Cuban young people, who have no connection to the Revolution, see the possibilities of better relations with America. Right now Obama is laughing at the likes of Venezuela whose “Revolutions” are failed and whose leaders are left with nothing more than empty rhetoric blaming the USA for all their ills. No my friend, this is not weakness, this is strategic engagement. The old generations of revolutionaries and Cuban ex-pats in Miami are all shaking their head as their old, obsolete, cold war world views are tossed aside.

      • You know full well partisans who exist purely to bash Obama don’t understand even the most basics of economic development in political change.

        The embargo was the Castro’s regimes best friend. Without it, they’d have to take responsibility for terrible policies rather than blaming the Yanquis.

        Obama plays the long game of Chess, where kekelaward cannot even think one step ahead in tick-tac-toe.

        • The younger Cubans are just biding their time waiting for Fidel and Raul to die. The visit by Obama and the hope of an open and free Cuba is appreciated by many citizens of Cuba as well as many Americans.

        • Indeed Tita Girl, and to a certain degree, the Castro regime knows it has to change. Cuba has undergone a significant number of economic reforms in the past 5 years. The more we force them to open the economy, the more the government will be forced to change.

          A lot of people just don’t get that the embargo was key to sustaining the Castro regime.

  • Like all communist regime, father time will eventually prevail! The death of Fidel and possible Raul will be the end a of communism in this island nation. His tirade in response to Obama’s visit is typical of a lawyer which was Fidel’s expertise lengthy and full of innuendos, further aggravated by age. If he still had all of his faculties and power this visit would not have occurred. He never ever would have invited or agreed to any visit my a sitting president. However, Obama will chalk it up as an achievement and part of his legacy. Our president is all about himself, narcissism.

  • Obama continues to embarrass the United States over, and over, and over again. Like the rest of the Democratic party, who themselves are the most dangerous threat to America. Far more dangerous than ISIS. Sanders is actually campaigning for “Democratic socialism”. The term was frequently used by Vladimir Lenin because he thought the term “communism and communist “, to caustic. Our own Tulsi Gab bard has endorced this buffoon.

  • Does the cuban government have the right to close down Guantanamo? Can they tell America to leave and go home, and take their prisoners with them. No one brings up this topic. I would like to know!

  • What’s the Deal?? Wasn’t Obama supposed to brake Barriers with Cuba? From the sound of FC is saying, it seems a bit premature to go in with all open arms.And btw who’s Obama’s advisors?? Advising him about breaking those barriers with Cuba…..Did this guy do his homework??__Obviously NOT!These so called advisors need to understand:
    Hispanic people are a very proud people,especially the males(Trust me i know). They are proud ,but also with an excellent memory….they don’t forgive and forget so easily! ie: Argentina.

    After seeing media pictures of the people of Cuba.The Buildings,the Cars and the infrastructure,(along w/FC)this country is STILL stuck in the past !!
    And yet on a Silver Platter ? Barry suggests normalizing an “Out Dated” relationship with Cuba, and now we get this?? “We don’t need your Presents”? Kinda sounds like The Death to America guys, IRAN. So What was he talking about?? The Old Fogy Performance by the Rolling stones? Ha!ha!ha!The RS needs to seriously consider Retirement.

    For me? It seems like a total waste of time!! Well you know what they say?…..So much for Gratitude! Nice effort Barry!! IMUA

      • Or more likely that Raul knows that the more Cuba opens up, the less control the state will have.

        Obama is playing the long game where increased prosperity in Cuba at the individual level will eventually force the regime to change. There is a reason why the embargo was the Castro Regime’s best friend.

        • Obama just using Cuba as a side show an escape from the big mess he has created throughout the world. Can’t he just go quietly.

  • Fidel’s letter represents Bitterness and Hate toward his enemy. its like that movie….”Grumpy Old Men”
    Bitter and spiteful man angry at the world. He too will meet his maker sooner or later.
    For Our POTUS, just a show for him too brag about… Last effort to look good in the eye of the paid historians who will
    make him look really good~.
    “nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care…”

  • Fidel’s recollection of history seems to have faded with age. Had it not been for the United States, Cuba might still be a colony of Spain instead of an independent country. Fidel is an ungreatful cad.

  • Let’s see how long it will take before we see Cuba site seeing ads in the SA?……I wanna go if the price is right…….my passport is ready.

    there were one week trips to China this season with an on-line travel agency out of SFO advertising for $700-$900/per person (cheaper than airfare alone?).

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