Cuba’s Fidel Castro gave harsh words, not in person but via a Communist Party official newspaper, to U.S. President Barack Obama after the current American leader attempted last week to thaw out some of the left over Cold War frost between the two nations.
“We don’t need the empire to give us any presents,” Fidel Castro is quoted as stating in the newspaper under the title “El hermano Obama,” per the online post from Jenna Lifhits over at the FreeBeacon. Furthermore, Castro believes that Cubans are self-sufficient and “able to produce food and material wealth we need with the effort and intelligence of our people.” He spoke against the U.S. desire to forget the past and all Obama’s talk of a “future of hope.” (Fidel Castro also believes there should be payment for the decades of “economic harm.” The opinion piece appears over at CubaDebate. Conversely, others claim Cuba owes much more. For that, please see certifiedcubaclaims.)
So, no small potatoes to be resolved here just on that difference. The possibility is, if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz becomes President after Obama, this will become a hotter sack of potatoes.
Even though it was envisioned as an historic visit by the Obama Administration, and even though no meeting with Fidel Castro actually took place, per the Politico story posted online by Nick Gass, words went back-and-forth. Over at theGuardian, writers Dan Roberts and Jonathan Watts in Havana report that Fidel’s brother, Cuban President Raúl Castro, “… is demanding [Obama] hand back Guantánamo Bay and fully end the US trade embargo as their historic first summit in Havana witnessed an unexpectedly spirited clash of political values.”
5 difficult decades
President Obama addressed the frosty relations as well, per theGuardian report. “After five very difficult decades, the relationship between our two countries will not be transformed overnight. We continue to have significant differences … and that includes democracy and human rights.”
People noticed the leadership differences, however per Watts and Roberts. “The contrasting styles of the consummate communicator Obama and the gruff former general Castro made for absorbing viewing, particularly among a domestic audience hungry for news of progress in relations.” Among those observing the contrast was a restaurant waiter, Víctor Aguilar, who witnessed the “unusual” scene of President Castro being asked about Cuban human rights at a press conference.
“It’s good, really good. Cuba needs a free media,” said Aguilar. “It’s a change and we need a change.” Also speaking on the subject of political prisoners and internet freedom was Jean Robert, employed in central Havana. “Raúl and Obama are trying to do the right thing,” he said. “I was very happy that they talked about political prisoners and internet freedom. That’s really important for us. If Raúl says he will release prisoners, then he will. I believe him.”
Rosa María Payá told the Guardian reporters that “the spectacle was ridiculous” but also very revealing. “This is the first time I have seen Raúl trying to avoid these kind of questions … This regime and the dynastic old general can no longer hide their oppressive methods. From now on the democratic world should choose between accepting the rules of the Cuban dynasty or, as Obama, said, supporting the right of all Cubans to decide.”
The much-syndicated columnist, George Will, is quoted over at a story on Foxnews as ripping President Obama for his “languid response to terrorism,” just after the most recent Brussels bombings. President Obama attending a baseball game in Cuba and then doing the tango in Argentina with just a few words regarding the attacks was a problem, he believes. “[I]t is very important for us to not respond with fear,” Obama told reporters.
Will questioned that, however, describing that this is Obama’s “default position.” Which translates basically into this: “… if we don’t continue with whatever we’re doing, then terrorists will be reassured. So, if we don’t tango, the terrorists have won.”
But there was more frustration about Obama mentioned by Will. “Then he brings out the idea that more people die in swimming pool accidents or whatever than terrorism, therefore, [a] classic non sequitur; terrorism’s not all that important.”