Politics & Policy

Obama: ‘I Personally Would Not Disagree’ with Castro’s Critiques of America

‘I actually welcome President Castro commenting on some of the areas where he feels we’re falling short.’

After listening to Cuban president Raúl Castro attack America over human rights, its trade embargo with Cuba, its “illegal occupation” of Guantanamo Bay, its “inconceivable” failure to provide free food, health-care, and social security, President Obama said that he “personally would not disagree” with his many of criticisms. 

“President Castro, I think, has pointed out that in his view making sure everybody’s getting a decent education or health care, has basic security in old age, that those things are human rights as well,” Obama said. ”I personally would not disagree with that.” 

“I actually welcome President Castro commenting on some of the areas where he feels we’re falling short because I think we should not be immune or afraid of criticism or discussion as well,” Obama added.

Here is the transcript: 

“[President Castro I think has pointed out that] in his view making sure everybody’s getting a decent education or health care, has basic security in old age, that those things are human rights as well. I personally would not disagree with that. But it doesn’t detract from some of these other concerns. And the goal of the human rights dialogue is not for the United States to dictate to Cuba how they should govern themselves but to make sure that we are having a frank and candid conversation around this issue. And hopefully that we can learn from each other. It does not mean it has to be the only issue we talk about. Economics, health, scientific exchanges, international cooperation on issues of regional, as well as global import, are also important. But this is something we are going to stay on. And, you know, I actually welcome President Castro commenting on some of the areas where he feels that we’re falling short because I think we should not be immune or afraid of criticism or discussion as well.”

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