Fidel Castro is no longer the leader of Cuba but still has a strong influence
It was the first visit of a U.S. president to Cuba in 88 years
As Cubans debate the impact of President Barack Obama’s historic trip to the island last week, one prominent figure is lambasting the visit: Fidel Castro.
In a full page column titled “Brother Obama,” published in the Cuban communist-party newspaper Granma, the former Cuban president rejected Obama’s visit and words of reconciliation.
“We don’t need the empire to give us anything,” Castro wrote, referring to the United States, in his acidly critical and rambling column.
In 2008, Fidel Castro turned power over to his brother Raul following a mystery intestinal illness that nearly killed him.
While officially retired, Fidel Castro, 89, still wields enormous influence in Cuba and observers study his sporadic columns and appearances for insights into Cuba’s opaque political system.
During his two-day visit, the first of any U.S. president to Cuba in 88 years, Obama was seen frequently with Cuban President Raul Castro. In addition to a bilateral meeting and a joint news conference, the men dined together at a state dinner and attended a U.S.-Cuba baseball game.
Obama did not meet with Fidel Castro during the trip.
Cubans applauded when the American leader said both countries should move beyond decades of mistrust and animosity.
“It is time for us to look forward to the future together – a future of hope,” Obama said in a speech that was carried on Cuban state-TV. “And it won’t be easy, and there will be setbacks. It will take time. But my time here in Cuba renews my hope and my confidence in what the Cuban people will do. We can make this journey as friends, and as neighbors, and as family – together.”
But apparently Fidel Castro isn’t so eager to bury the past.
That section of Obama’s speech “risked giving one a heart attack,” Castro wrote, before listing a litany of what he said were abuses the United States had perpetuated against Cuba.