Castro slams Obama for embargo comments

Updated: 2011-09-30 16:07


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HAVANA - Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro on Thursday lashed out in national media at US President Barack Obama's remarks on the US embargo against the island country.

In his column "Reflections" in Cuba's official daily Granma, Castro ridiculed Obama as a "puppet" in the US political game and described him as "naive" for completely lacking an understanding of the embargo.

The comments were made in response to a statement by Obama in which he said his administration would be willing to consider "a new relationship" with Cuba if Havana showed signs of genuine democratic development.

The US president, Castro said, has failed to understand that "even 50 years of embargo and crimes against our fatherland have not been able to break our people."

"Many things will change in Cuba, but they will change because of our own efforts and in spite of the United States," he said.

Castro also denounced as "cruel, foolish and expected" the decision of a US judge that Cuban citizen Rene Gonzalez, one of five Cubans currently imprisoned in the United States on charges of espionage, should stay in the US state of Florida for three years under supervised freedom after his release next October 7.

Gonzalez, 55, and the four other Cubans were arrested in Florida in September 1998 on charges of being members of a spying network and were sentenced to prison terms from 15 years to life imprisonment.

The Cuban Five, as they are known, are considered heroes in Cuba. According to local authorities, they were only monitoring anti-Castro groups based in Florida to prevent terrorist attacks being launched against Cuba.