Fidel Castro has angered, undermined, and ultimately outlasted every U.S. president since 1959, when his Communist Revolution took over the island nation of Cuba.
That trend continued today. In the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba last week, the first by a U.S. president since 1928, Castro penned an often-rambling and disjointed op-ed that slammed the historic visit.
Castro’s piece derided much of Obama’s rhetoric as “honey-coated” and accused him of “ignoring the accomplishments of Communist rule,” according to Fortune Magazine.
HUFF POST – Fidel Castro's Letter About Obama's Trip Says Cuba Doesn't Need Any 'Presents' https://t.co/MgzzKQ5kNv
— #canpoli (@canpoli) March 28, 2016
“We don’t need the empire to give us anything,” Castro declared, adding that Obama’s “syrupy” words were enough to give Cubans “a heart attack.”
“No one should fool themselves into thinking that our noble and generous people will renounce their glory and their rights, and the spiritual wealth of our educational, scientific and cultural achievements.”
Castro further reminded his readers of attempts in the past by the U.S. government to remove him from power — most notably the Bay of Pigs Crisis in 1961.
“In 1961, just two years and three months after the triumph of the Revolution, a mercenary force with cannons and armored infantry, equipped with aircraft, was trained and accompanied by warships and aircraft carriers in the US, raiding our country.”
Fidel Castro insiste en la distancia que separa Cuba de EE.UU. y en su autonomía
El ex dirigente cubano reivindic… https://t.co/mDU4m9mvTV
— Trend (@fractaltrend) March 28, 2016
Fidel Castro’s broadside came in sharp contrast to a visit that was perceived positively by many observers.
While in Cuba, Obama declared that the two nations needed to get past hostilities of the last 50-plus years between Castro and every American president since 1959 and reestablish relations.
The Washington Post noted that Fidel Castro’s screed was “in stark contrast to the feel-good atmosphere of Obama’s three days on the island, where he held a news conference, attended a baseball game with current President Raúl Castro, and delivered a major address.”
Many Cuban-Americans Not Happy, Either
The New York Times noted that many Cuban Americans, who left the island when Fidel Castro’s government took their property away and made many opponents into political prisoners, were also unhappy with the visit.
“Nowhere are United States-Cuba politics more personal than in this Miami suburb, home to longtime Cuban exiles and freshly arrived Cuban immigrants, former political prisoners who have never returned to the island and apolitical cafeteria and supermarket workers who go back every chance they get.”
The Times also stated, however, that many younger Cuban Americans welcomed the visit.
Former presidential candidate Marco Rubio, himself a Cuban American, blasted Obama’s visit. He told the Washington Post that a visit to the Castro-controlled island would only be successful if “the Cuban government announces after meeting with Barack Obama [that] we’ve decided to create democratic openings in Cuba. We’re going to allow independent media outlets. We’re going to free every political prisoner. We’re going to stop detaining dissidents.”
Rubio also criticized the proposed visit at a recent Republican debate, where he critiqued Fidel Castro’s record.
Armando Valladares, a former political prisoner in Cuba for 22 years, also criticized Obama’s visit, stating that “nothing has changed” since he and others were jailed by Castro’s government for failing to place a sign on his desk that said “I’m with Fidel.”
Fidel Castro In Retirement
Obama and the 89-year-old Fidel Castro did not meet on this trip. Since Castro went into retirement in 2008 due to health reasons, his younger brother Raul has taken the reigns of the country. Castro has generally lived in seclusion, although according to CNN, he continues to make his presence felt. Fidel Castro “still wields enormous influence in Cuba and observers study his sporadic columns and appearances for insights into Cuba’s opaque political system.”
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]