Related News

Home » World

Fidel Castropours cold water on peace talks

FORMER Cuban president Fidel Castro said on Tuesday that United States President Barack Obama "misinterpreted" his brother Raul's sentiments and bristled at any suggestion Cuba should free political prisoners or reduce fees on money sent to the island from the US.

Raul Castro, now Cuba's leader, touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the US and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw in nearly a half-century of chilly relations when he said Cuban leaders would be willing to sit down with their US counterparts and discuss "everything," including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners on the island.

Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba but he also said Cuba should release some political prisoners and reduce official taxes on remittances from the US as a sign of goodwill.

That appeared to enrage Fidel Castro, 82, who wrote in an essay posted on a government Website 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 Cuba make even small concessions. He also seemed to suggest too much was being made of Raul's comments about discussing "everything" with the US.

"Affirming that the president of Cuba is ready to discuss any topic with the president of the United States expresses that he's not afraid to broach any subject," Fidel Castro wrote of his 77-year-old brother who succeeded him as president 14 months ago.

"It's a sign of bravery and confidence in the principles of the revolution," he said, referring to the rebel uprising that toppled Fulgencio Batista and brought the Castros to power on New Year's Day 1959.

"Nobody should assume that he was talking about pardoning those sentenced in March 2003 and sending all of them to the United States, if the country were willing to liberate the five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes."

He was referring to 75 leading political opposition leaders who were rounded up and imprisoned six years ago. Some 54 of them remain behind bars, though.

The ex-president had previously expressed his admiration for Obama but this time Castro blasted the new US president for showing signs of "superficiality."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend