Thursday, January 22, 2009

Castro Says He Has No Doubts About Obama’s Honesty

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, in his first editorial in five weeks, said he has no doubt that U.S. President Barack Obama is honest and has “noble intentions.”
Castro also derided the U.S. economic system as “wasteful” and said America has been unable to destroy Cuba’s revolution over the past five decades. The comments posted today on the Juventud Rebelde Web site were written following Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20 and Castro’s meeting yesterday with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

“I personally harbor no doubt of the honesty with which Obama expressed his ideas,” Castro wrote. “However, despite his noble intentions, some questions remain unanswered. Like, how can a wasteful, consumerist system protect the environment.”

The U.S. has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba since 1962, when Castro expropriated the land of U.S. citizens and companies. Cuban leaders blame the embargo for the island nation’s economic and social problems.

“Speaking of the U.S., I pointed out the historic importance for Cuba that yesterday at 12, the 10th president had taken office in the last 50 years, during which despite the immense power of that country they haven’t been able to destroy the Cuban revolution,” Castro wrote.

Remittance, Travel Policy

In an interview with the Spanish-language television network Univision on Jan. 12, Obama said he’s interested in changing remittance and travel policies regarding Cuba without completely lifting the embargo.

Castro, 82, who overthrew the pro-U.S. government of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, passed the presidency on to his younger brother, Raul, early last year and has remained out of public view since undergoing surgery for an intestinal ailment in 2006.

Argentina’s Fernandez, speaking today in Caracas during a meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said Castro received her “standing up” during their encounter in Cuba.
Castro’s health has become a state secret since he fell ill, and information on his medical condition typically comes from his editorials, photos in the local press and accounts from visiting foreign dignitaries.

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