Fidel Castro to Obama: "We do not need the empire to give us any gifts"
Posted on March 28, 2016
14ymedio, Havana, 28 March 2016 – A week after Barack Obama's arrival in
Cuba, the official press has published a "Reflection" by former Cuban
president Fidel Castro, titled "Obama's Brother," but which contains
strong criticisms of the US president. The text, often disjointed and
scattered, is intended as a response to Obama's speech in the Gran
Teatro de la Habana, and in particular to his declaration that he wanted
to leave behind, "the last vestiges of the Cold War in the Americas."
After an extensive introduction where Castro touches on topics such as
the Spanish conquest of the island, the finding of gold, and tourist
exploitation of natural landscapes, the Cuban leader lashes out against
Obama's words when he said that "Cuba, like the United States, was built
in part by slaves brought here from Africa. Like the United States, the
Cuban people can trace their heritage to both slaves and slave-owners."
Castro claims that "the native populations [of Cuba] don't exist at all
in Obama's mind," and declares that "racial discrimination was swept
away by the Revolution." He also addresses the issue of Cuban
participation in the war in Angola and holds against him what he calls
"the support racist South Africa received from Reagan and Israel" and
questions if Obama knows "about this history," although "it is very
doubtful that he knows absolutely nothing."
"I wouldn't even talk about this, unless I had the elemental duty to
respond to Obama's speech," continues Castro, who describes the words of
the United States president as "syrupy" when he suggested forgetting the
past in these terms: "It is time, now, for us to leave the past behind.
It is time for us to look forward to the future together — un futuro
de esperanza [a future of hope]."
"I assume that each of us ran the risk of a heart attack," sneers
Castro, and reminds the occupant of the White House that "the merciless
blockade has already lasted almost 60 years." The allusions to the past
that run throughout the Reflection, signed at "10:25 pm," this Sunday,
are summarized in the questions, "And what about those who have died in
mercenary attacks on Cuban ships and ports, an airplane full of
passengers blown up in mid-air, mercenary invasions, multiple acts of
violence and of force?"
Obama's historical speech, which was not published in full in the
printed Cuban press, has generated sympathies among the population of
the island. Minutes after Obama finished speaking, national television
broadcast a stream of opinions opposing the words of the foreign
president, from representatives of "civil society" even more official
than that which listened in the Gran Teatro.
Fidel Castro's article joins a string of articles in the official press
that has sharply criticized Obama's call to look to the future to
advance relations between the two countries. As a counterpart, the
former Cuban president suggests that he "reflect and not try, now, to
elaborate theories about Cuban politics." He confesses, however, that he
"wished Obama's conduct had been correct," suggesting in this way that
he was disappointed with the words of the island's visitor.
In recent days, Obama's speech has circulated extensively on alternative
distribution networks, especially via e-mail and the well-known "weekly
packet," where a high resolution video of the speech is being distributed.
In his conclusion, Castro warns that "no one should make an allusion to
the people of this noble and selfless country renouncing its glory and
its rights, the spiritual richness it has gained with the development of
education, science and culture." And he ends with this affirmation that
Cubans will appreciate: "We are capable of producing the food and
material wealth that we need."
It is worth remembering that, according to official figures, Cuba
imports more than 80% of the food destined for the population's "basic
basket," at a value of more than two billion dollars a year.
Source: Fidel Castro to Obama: "We do not need the empire to give us any
gifts" / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -