HAVANA. — Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro broke his silence on United States President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Cuba, saying he brought “sweetened words”, but little of substance, a media report said on Monday.
In a kind of open letter to Obama, published on Monday in state-run daily Granma, Fidel said he had “the elemental duty to respond to Obama’s speech” to the Cuban people, delivered during his March 20-22 visit.
“Obama made a speech in which he used the most sweetened words to express: ‘It is time, now, to forget the past, leave the past behind, let us look to the future together, a future of hope,’” said Castro.
“And it won’t be easy; there will be challenges and we must give it time; but my stay here gives me more hope in what we can do together as friends, as family, as neighbours, together,” Obama told the Cuban audience in his speech.
While Obama’s speech marked a radical change in the rhetoric usually directed at Cuba by the United States, it failed to address any of Cuba’s major grievances, Castro noted.
“I suppose all of us were at risk of a heart attack upon hearing these words from the president of the United States. After a ruthless blockade that has lasted almost 60 years and what about those who have died in the mercenary attacks on Cuban ships and ports, an airliner full of passengers blown up in mid-air, mercenary invasions, multiple acts of violence and coercion?” said the former Cuban leader.
A Cuban airliner from Barbados to Jamaica was blown up on October 6, 1976 by a terrorist bomb attack. All 73 people on board were killed. Cuba has accused the US government of being an accomplice.
Cuba does not need the United States for its development, said Castro, noting that the Caribbean country has made significant progress in education, science, health and other fields despite the naval blockades, sanctions and punitive measures Washington imposed on the island for half a century. — Xinhua.