Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Castro to Obama:Pay Attention!

Today we see the truth about the US-Cuba relationship and not Obama's fantasy land story. Now we can add Fidel Castro to the list with the Taliban, Hugo Chavez and the President of Iran of US enemies to put Obama in his place.

Fidel Castro: Obama 'misinterpreted' Raul's words

HAVANA – Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama "misinterpreted" his brother Raul's remarks regarding the United States and bristled at the suggestion that Cuba should free political prisoners or cut taxes on dollars people send to the island.

Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw after nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their U.S. counterparts and discuss "everything, everything, everything, "including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners.

Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba. But as he prepared to leave the summit Sunday, Obama also called on Cuba to release political prisoners and reduce taxes on remittances from the U.S.

That appeared to enrage Fidel Castro, 82, who wrote in an essay published Wednesday that Obama "without a doubt misinterpreted Raul's declarations."

The former president appeared to be throwing a dose of cold water on growing expectations for improved bilateral relations — suggesting Obama had no right to dare suggest that Cuba make even small concessions. He also seemed to suggest too much was being made of Raul's comments about discussing "everything" with U.S. authorities.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had a different perspective on Fidel Castro's essay while speaking about Cuba policy with the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. She said that while Fidel Castro had "contradicted" his brother's previous statements about Cuba's willingness to discuss a whole range of issues with the U.S., it shows "there is beginning to be a debate" inside Cuba about how to move forward with U.S. relations.

Fidel Castro's remarks put into doubt the true meaning of his brother's statements and raised questions about Cuba's position on detente with the United States. Although he surrendered the presidency to Raul in February 2008, he retains enormous influence and remains head of Cuba's Communist Party.

Raul Castro himself, meanwhile, has not jumped in to clarify the confusion and is not likely to, out of respect for his older brother.

"When the President of Cuba said he was ready to discuss any topic with the U.S. President, he meant he was not afraid of addressing any issue," Fidel Castro wrote of his 77-year-old brother, who succeeded him as president 14 months ago.

"That shows his courage and confidence in the principles of the Revolution," Fidel wrote.

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