Fidel Castro to Obama: We don’t need any presents from you
Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro responded Monday to US President Barack Obama's historic trip to the island with a long, bristling letter recounting the history of US aggression against Cuba, writing that "we don't need the empire to give us any presents."
The letter titled "Brother Obama" was Castro's first response to the president's three-day visit last week, in which the American president said he had come to bury the two countries' history of Cold War hostility. Obama did not meet with the 89-year-old Castro on the trip but met several times with his 84-year-old brother Raul, the current Cuban president.
Castro, who led Cuba for decades before handing power to his brother in 2008, was legendary for his hours-long, all-encompassing speeches. His letter reflects that style, presenting a sharp contrast with Obama's tightly focused speech in Havana.
Castro goes over crucial sections of Obama's speech line by line. Then, he returns to a review of a half-century of US aggression against Cuba. Those events include the embargo against the island; the 1961 Bay of Pigs attack and the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner backed by exiles who took refuge in the US.
"No one should pretend that the people of this noble and selfless country will renounce its glory and its rights," Fidel Castro wrote. "We are capable of producing the food and material wealth that we need with work and intelligence of our people."