Fidel Castro mocks Obama for Cuba comments
By PETER ORSI
HAVANA, Cuba -- Fidel Castro mocked President Barack Obama on Thursday
for saying he's open to changing U.S. policy toward Cuba if there is
change on the island first, calling the U.S. leader "stupid."
Writing in one of his semiregular essays published across state-run
media, Castro reacted with sarcasm to reported comments that Obama would
be open to a different relationship with Cuba when there is political
and social change.
"How kind! How intelligent!" Castro said. "Such kindness still has not
allowed him to understand that 50 years of blockade and crimes against
our country have not been able to bow our people."
Cuba uses the term "blockade" to refer to the nearly five-decades-old
economic embargo against the island.
"Many things will change in Cuba, but they will change through our
efforts and in spite of the United States. Perhaps that empire will fall
first," Castro added, a reference to the United States.
Castro wrote glowingly about Obama when he was elected in 2008, saying,
"The intelligent and noble face of the first black president of the
United States since its founding two and one-third centuries ago as an
independent republic had transformed itself under the inspiration of
Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King into a living symbol of the
But Castro has increasingly shown disillusionment as Cuban-U.S.
relations remain in a deep freeze, despite measures undertaken by Obama
allowing more remittances and travel to the island.
Castro also criticized as "brutal, blundering and expected" a U.S.
judge's recent ruling that an imprisoned Cuban intelligence officers
must serve his parole in the United States instead of returning to his
family on the island after he is released in early October.
The case of Rene Gonzalez, who holds dual American and Cuban
citizenship, and four other agents imprisoned for espionage in the U.S.
is one of the Cuban government's chief complaints about Washington, and
newspapers and airwaves on the island call each day for their release.
"This is how the empire responds to the increasing demand around the
world for their freedom," Castro wrote. "If it weren't so, the empire
would cease to be an empire and Obama would cease to be stupid."
Gonzalez and the others, collectively known as the "Cuban Five," were
convicted in 2001 of attempting to infiltrate U.S. military
installations in South Florida. They also monitored militant anti-Castro
groups and tried to place operatives inside the campaigns of anti-Castro
One of the five was convicted of murder conspiracy related to the 1996
shootdown by Cuban fighter jets of planes flown by an exile group.
Havana lauds the men as heroes. It contends that they were no threat to
the U.S. government and were unfairly tried and given exorbitant
sentences not commensurate with their activities.