Fidel Castro Criticizes Barack Obama’s Efforts to Change Cuba

The New York TimesMEXICO CITY — Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba, offered a critical response on Monday to President Obama’s recent visit to his country, declaring that despite the warming relations between the two Cold War enemies, “we do not need the empire to give us anything.”

In a long and digressive letter titled “Brother Obama” published in Granma, the official Communist Party newspaper, Mr. Castro struck a discordant note with the country’s political class, including his younger brother Raúl Castro, the current president.

Mr. Obama did not meet with the elder Mr. Castro during his three-day visit to Cuba last week, which was meant to be a capstone to efforts to bury hostilities between the two countries, and to encourage the reform of Cuba’s flagging economy and political system.

Mr. Castro, who is 89 and has not been seen in public since last summer, remains highly influential in the Communist Party even after his retirement, and took the opportunity on Monday to offer a counterpoint to the optimism of Mr. Obama’s visit.

In his nearly 1,600-word missive, Mr. Castro recounted the history of United States aggression against his country, including the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the decades-long economic embargo of the island, which is still in effect. He chastised Mr. Obama, 54, for his youth and for failing to recognize what Mr. Castro said were the major accomplishments of Cuba’s Communist revolution, such as state pensions and salaries, the steps to eradicate racial discrimination and the role of Cuba’s indigenous people in society. …

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