Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fidel Castro: Comrade Obama Lied!

How bad are things going when an almost-lifelike dictator starts calling you out as a liar?
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro said President Obama misinterpreted remarks by his brother and successor, Raul, and bristled at the suggestion that the island should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from abroad as a goodwill gesture to the U.S.

Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw in nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their U.S. counterparts and discuss everything, including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners on the island.

Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba, but he also said Sunday that Cuba should release some political prisoners and reduce official taxes on remittances sent to the island from the U.S.

That appeared to enrage Fidel Castro, 82, who wrote in an essay posted on a government website that Obama "without a doubt misinterpreted Raul's declarations."

The former president appeared to be throwing cold water on expectations for improved bilateral relations -- suggesting that Obama had no right to urge Cuba to make even small concessions. He also seemed to suggest too much was being made of Raul's comments about discussing everything with U.S. authorities.

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