Fidel Castro Slams Obama Over Cuba Trip

Fidel was not such a fan of Obama's historic Cuba trip.
Fidel was not such a fan of Obama's historic Cuba trip.

By most accounts, President Obama's historic visit to Havana last week was a success. His rousing speech to the Cuban people was roundly hailed as a step forward from musty Cold War-era policy, and even hardliners had to admit he got in a pretty good dig at Raúl Castro over human rights abuses.

But like your curmudgeonly great-uncle fuming at the Christmas party over how the Jell-O is too warm and the kids are just too damn loud, Fidel Castro apparently did not catch rapprochement fever last week.

This morning, Fidel published in El Granma, the state paper, a lengthy, rambling critique of Obama's visit. The piece reads like, well, your cranky great-uncle's latest screed on Facebook, so getting to the heart of Fidel's complaints isn't easy. 

But his biggest beef in the column, titled "El Hermano Obama," is that the U.S. president would lecture Cuba on human rights given the United States' rather checkered history on his island.

Of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Fidel writes that "nothing can justify this premeditated attack that cost our country hundreds of killed and wounded. " 

Castro also raised another Miami-linked piece of bloody history: The 1976 bombing of Cubana de Aviación Flight 455, which was tied to South Florida-based terrorists Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles. 

Of Obama's pleas to look to the future with hope, Fidels writes that "each of us risked a heart attack upon hearing these words... after a merciless blockade that has lasted almost 60 years, and those who have died in the mercenary attacks on ships and Cuban ports, an airliner full of passengers detonated in midair, mercenary invasions, multiple acts of violence, and strength?"

Which are all fair points. (Less fair: Castro's claims that "racial discrimination was swept away by the Revolution" when most outsiders agree that racism is still a big problem on the island.) 

But the column also points to the main reason Obama didn't meet with Fidel on the trip: Castro's beefs, however rooted in fact, are all touchstones of the Cold War freeze that Obama is trying to chip away at. Obama didn't organize the Bay of Pigs. He never secretly funded Bosch or Carriles. He would end the embargo tomorrow if Congress would let him. 

Luckily, based on the reception Obama received — plus the ecstatic crowds that flocked to other Western visitors the Rolling Stones and the Tampa Bay Rays — Fidel's bitching seems about as likely to get a reaction as any other old man yelling at clouds.  

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