Tags: castro | obama | cuba | honeymoon

Cuban Leadership Honeymoon With Obama Ebbs

Thursday, 31 Dec 2009 12:18 AM


HAVANA — The Obama honeymoon here is over.

When President Obama came to office, the unflattering billboards of George W. Bush, including one outside the United States Interests Section of him scowling alongside Hitler, came down and the anti-American vitriol softened. Raúl Castro, who took over from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006, even raised the possibility of a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Obama, which would have been the first time one of the Castros met with a sitting American president.

But the tenor here has changed considerably, and Mr. Obama, whose election was broadly celebrated by Cuba’s racially diverse population, is now being portrayed by this nation’s leaders as an imperialistic, warmongering Cuba hater.

“As things appear now, there will be no big change in the relationship in the near future,” said Ricardo Alarcón, the president of Cuba’s National Assembly. He dismissed the Obama administration’s recent steps, like loosening restrictions on Cuban Americans’ traveling or sending money to the island and allowing American telecommunications companies to do business there, as “minor changes.”

The two countries have postponed the talks they restarted at the beginning of the Obama administration to discuss migration, postal delivery and other issues, blaming each other for the delays. In the absence of talks, Mr. Obama’s carrot-and-stick approach of relaxing some Bush-era policies while continuing to denounce the Castro government on human rights has failed to engage — and perhaps has enraged — the Cuban leadership.

While Raúl Castro repeated the offer to meet with Mr. Obama in a fiery speech recently, he also blasted the Obama administration for “undercover subversion” against Cuba and warned that his nation was ready for any American invasion. In one of his recent written commentaries in the state press, Fidel Castro, who has not appeared in public in nearly three years, wrote that Mr. Obama’s “friendly smile and African-American face” masked his sinister intentions to control Latin America.

To read full New York Times story — Go Here Now.




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Thursday, 31 Dec 2009 12:18 AM
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