Obama will fail if he doesn’t lift embargo: Fidel Castro

Havana, April 23 (EFE) Former Cuban president Fidel Castro has said that US President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy will fare as badly as that of the previous White House occupants if he does not end Washington’s 47-year-old economic embargo against the communist country.

“Must we wait so many years for their blockade to be suspended? He (Obama) didn’t invent it, but he made it his own just like 10 other presidents of the United States. One can predict by that route certain failure like that of all his predecessors,” the former Cuban leader said in a column published Tuesday.

According to Castro, when a reporter at last weekend’s Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago reminded the US president that in 2004 – as an Illinois state senator – he supported lifting the embargo, Obama said those comments were made “eons ago”.

“Changes are inevitable,” Castro said. “We won’t have to wait thousands of years, just eight will be enough for another US president … without doubt less intelligent, promising and admired in the world than Barack Obama, to occupy that inglorious office.”

Also, he said that the US leader “misinterpreted” the statements of Fidel’s younger brother, Cuban President Raul Castro, about the possibility of releasing dozens of prominent dissidents jailed six years ago.

“Nobody should be surprised that he spoke about pardoning those sanctioned in March 2003 and sending them all to the US, if that country would be ready to release the five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes,” Fidel said.

He was referring to five Cuban spies serving prison sentences in the US.

Havana sent the five agents to South Florida to spy on the Cuban exile community. The espionage operation followed several terrorist bombings on the communist island that were allegedly masterminded by Miami-based anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles.

“I know there is a longer journey that must be travelled in overcoming decades of mistrust, but there are critical steps we can take toward a new day,” Obama said, citing his decision to eliminate restrictions on Cuban Americans’ travel and remittances to the island.

The US president also indicated that progress toward better bilateral relations would depend on Cuba’s willingness to take positive actions.

“Let me be clear: I am not interested in talking for the sake of talking. But I do believe that we can move US-Cuban relations in a new direction,” Obama said.

Almost with one voice, Latin American leaders – including US allies such as Mexico’s Felipe Calderon – are calling on Washington to end the economic embargo it imposed on Cuba in 1962.