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LATIN AMERICA

Fidel Castro says he supports renewed relations, but distrusts Washington

Cuban ex-president refers to rapprochement for first time in letter published in ‘Granma’

A poster of Fidel Castro at the entrance of La Havana hotel.
A poster of Fidel Castro at the entrance of La Havana hotel. AFP

Although Fidel Castro does not trust American politics, he does not reject Havana and Washington’s efforts at rapprochement. The octogenarian leader shared his opinions in a letter published on Monday night by Cuban state newspaper Granma, a month and a week after US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced plans to relaunch full diplomatic relations.

“I do not trust American politics and I haven’t exchanged one word with them without it leading to, nothing short of, a rejection of peaceful solutions to conflicts and the dangers of war,” Castro writes in an open letter addressed to students. “Any peaceful and negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America that does not involve force or the use of force should be handled according to international principles and norms. We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all peoples of the world, including our political adversaries.”

I haven’t exchanged one word with the US without it leading to a rejection of peaceful solutions”

Fidel Castro

With regard to his brother’s negotiations with the White House, Castro says: “The president of Cuba has taken pertinent steps based on his prerogatives and the powers the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba grant him.”

Fidel Castro dedicated the last two paragraphs of his two-page letter to the negotiation process to normalize relations with the United States. The note includes autobiographical references and his thoughts on the history of world politics and Cuban history. The letter is addressed to the University Students Federation and dated January 26, 2015, 12.35pm local time.

Since poor health forced him to cede power to Raúl in 2006, Castro has fallen into the habit of writing long “reflections” where he shares his opinion on current events in Cuba and abroad that he considers significant. And these notes, along with the photographs that state media outlets periodically publish, have become a kind of proof of life for the former leader.

His last article reflected on how China could benefit the region’s economic development. It was published in Granma on February 22, 2014 with a photo of Castro shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to the Cuban capital.

The last time the public saw Fidel in person was on January 8, 2014, at a ceremony to inaugurate an art exhibition in Havana.

Translation: Dyane Jean François

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