HAVANA TIMES — Former Cuban president Fidel Castro broke his silence today and came out swinging in his first public reaction, before or after, the visit last week to the island by US President Barack Obama, reported dpa news.
“We do not need any gifts from the empire,” Castro, 89, wrote in a “reflection” published on the front page of the official “Granma” newspaper. Fidel said it was his “duty to respond to the speech” pronounced in Havana by Obama to the Cuban people on March 22nd.
“Each of us ran the risk of a heart attack upon hearing the words of the president of the United States,” Castro said in reference to the call for reconciliation in Obama’s address to Cubans, after half a century of hostility between the two countries.
Fidel rejected the idea of reconciliation, “after a merciless blockade that has lasted almost 60 years.” He recalled “those who died in the mercenary attacks on ships and Cuban ports, an airliner full of passengers detonated in midair, mercenary invasions, and multiple acts of violence and force.”
“Besides, I warn that we are able to produce the food and material wealth we need with the effort and intelligence of our people,” said Castro in the article titled “Brother Obama” and in which he also described as “syrupy” the words with which the US president called on both countries to “forget the past.”
Obama visited Cuba from March 20-22 as part of the thaw in relations that both countries presidents publicly announced in December 2014, after decades of estrangement.
Fidel Castro, who ruled the destinies of Cuba and its people from 1959-2006, did not participate in the talks between the government of his brother Raul and the Obama administration. Although he had not rejected rapprochement with the old ideological enemy, Fidel Castro has shown skepticism during the negotiations.
In his top of the Cuban news article, Castro recalled the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and praised his government’s role in the struggles of African independence. He accused Washington of having supported the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.
“I do not know what Obama has to say today about this history. I do not know what he did or did not know, although it is very doubtful that he knew absolutely nothing,” said Fidel.
“My modest suggestion is that he reflect and not try to develop theories about Cuban politics,” he said.
In his historic nationally televised address to Cuba last Tuesday, Obama called for democracy and civil liberties on the island.
Upon leading the 1959 revolution, Fidel Castro erected a communist one-party system that has governed the island for over a half century. The words of the former president, 89, always generate expectations in Cuba, despite living removed from power since 2006.
Fidel Castro is not involved in day-to-day Cuban public life and in recent times rarely publishes his “Reflections”, which he began writing after recovering from the illness that led to his handing over the presidency to his brother Raul.