HAVANA TIMES, April 21 – US President Barack Obama was “abrupt and evasive regarding the blockade” at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, wrote former Cuban President Fidel Castro on Sunday.
In one of his newspaper columns published by the island’s press, Castro said “The cruel blockade against the Cuban people costs lives, costs suffering.”
With the resulting losses estimated at well over US $90 billion, friends and foes alike note that Cuba’s economic and social development is far from its potential under normal circumstances.
While Havana considers Obama a definite improvement over his predecessor George W. Bush, —with whom any dialogue was out of the question—, Cuban leaders are wary of generalities, demanding concrete actions to end the nearly half century stranglehold on the island.
Hopes were raised for movement in the icy US-Cuba relations at the Americas Summit in Trinidad and Tobago, the US president’s debut with Latin American and Caribbean leaders.
However, Obama continues to say that Cuba must take the next step by releasing political prisoners, allow greater freedoms and reduce official fees on remittances sent to the island from the US.
Cuba, on the other hand, has always said that a dialogue is only possible on a level playing field with mutual respect, rejecting any US meddling in its internal affairs.
“I could find no explanation for the euphoria expressed by some of the participants at the Port of Spain Summit,” wrote Cuban President Fidel Castro on Monday.