President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha greet dignitaries upon arrival in Havana on March 20. Photo by Pete Souza/The White House
HAVANA, March 28 (UPI) -- Just days after the United States and Cuba celebrated a landmark visit by President Barack Obama to the island nation, former leader Fidel Castro on Monday revealed deep-seated feelings about the American leader and the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between both countries.
Castro made his feelings known by authoring an article that appeared Monday in Cuba's official state newspaper, El Granma. Castro's letter was written Sunday night.
The article, which remained at the top of El Granma's front page Monday, carried the headline, "Brother Obama."
Castro spent the first several paragraphs of the article addressing Cuban history, his admiration for revolutionary leaders and his concerns for the nation's younger generations. The second half of the story critiques Obama's presidential efforts, remarks and what he believes to be the commander in-chief's intentions.
Particularly, the former communist leader slammed Obama for what he believes is an overly negative and inaccurate view of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, of which Castro was a primary leader.
"The hateful, racist bourgeois custom of [Cuba's pre-revolution government] hiring strongmen to expel black citizens from recreational centers was swept away by the Cuban Revolution," Castro wrote. "An honorable chapter in the struggle for human liberation was written there."
Castro went on to condemn the United States for its failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, which was a disaster for both nations and involved the deaths of numerous Cuban fighters.
"Nothing can justify that perfidious attack which cost our country hundreds of losses, including deaths and injuries," he wrote.
Fidel Castro holds up a photo on June 10, 1962, which he claims shows a U.S. spy plane on a photo reconnaissance mission over the Soviet freighter ten miles off the northern coast of Cuba. File photo by UPI
Castro concluded the article by reflecting on Obama's visit to Cuba last week, during which he met with its current leader, Raul Castro, Fidel's brother.
"Obama made a speech in which he uses the most sweetened words to express: 'It is time, now, to forget the past, leave the past behind, let us look to the future together, a future of hope. And it won't be easy, there will be challenges and we must give it time; but my stay here gives me more hope in what we can do together as friends, as family, as neighbors, together.'" Castro acknowledged. "I suppose all of us were at risk of a heart attack upon hearing these words from the president of the United States.
"After a ruthless blockade that has lasted almost 60 years -- and what about those who have died in the mercenary attacks on Cuban ships and ports, an airliner full of passengers blown up in midair, mercenary invasions, multiple acts of violence and coercion?"
Castro -- who has served as Cuban president, prime minister and first secretary -- was a leader on the island during most of the Cold War and was party to many of the diplomatic challenges and tensions his nation experienced with the United States. Nonetheless, he argues, the U.S. government should adjust its views on Cuba's past and the island's people should rely on no one but their homeland.
"We do not need the empire to give us anything," he stated. "Our efforts will be legal and peaceful, as this is our commitment to peace and fraternity among all human beings who live on this planet."
Neither the White House nor Obama immediately responded to Castro's letter Monday.