President Obama’s attempt at normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba came with an epilogue written by — who else? Fidel Castro himself.
Castro responded Monday to Obama’s historic trip to Cuba with a long, bristling letter recounting the history of U.S. aggression against Cuba, writing that “we don’t need the empire to give us any presents.”
The 1,500-word letter in state media newspaper Granma titled “Brother Obama” was Castro’s first response to the president’s three-day visit last week, in which the American president said he had come to bury the two countries’ history of Cold War hostility. Obama did not meet with the 89-year-old Fidel Castro on the trip but met several times with his 84-year-old brother Raul Castro, the current Cuban president.
Obama’s visit was intended to build irreversible momentum behind his opening with Cuba and to convince the Cuban people and the Cuban government that a half-century of U.S. attempts to overthrow the Communist government had ended, allowing Cuba to reform its economy and political system without the threat of U.S. interference.
Fidel Castro writes of Obama: “My modest suggestion is that he reflects and doesn’t try to develop theories about Cuban politics.”
The letter opens with descriptions of environmental abuse under the Spaniards and reviews the historical roles of Cuban independence heroes Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo and Maximo Gomez.
Castro then goes over crucial sections of Obama’s speech line by line, engaging in an ex-post-facto dialogue with the American president with pointed critiques of perceived slights and insults, including Obama’s failure to give credit to indigenous Cubans and Castro’s prohibition of racial segregation after coming to power in 1959.
“No one should pretend that the people of this noble and selfless country will renounce its glory and its rights,” Fidel Castro wrote. “We are capable of producing the food and material wealth that we need with work and intelligence of our people.”
Read more at JETMag.com.