The Corner

No Freedom for Havana!

Uncle Fidel goes over his brother’s head and corrects President Obama:

Fidel Castro says Obama misinterpreted his brother’s remarks

The former Cuban president rejects suggestions that the island should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from the U.S.

The Associated Press

HAVANA — Former Cuban President Fidel Castro said President Obama misinterpreted remarks by his brother and successor, Raul, and bristled at the suggestion that the island should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from abroad as a goodwill gesture to the U.S.

Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw in nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their U.S. counterparts and discuss everything, including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners on the island.

Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba, but he also said Sunday that Cuba should release some political prisoners and reduce official taxes on remittances sent to the island from the U.S.

That appeared to enrage Fidel Castro, 82, who wrote in an essay posted on a government website that Obama “without a doubt misinterpreted Raul’s declarations.”

The former president appeared to be throwing cold water on expectations for improved bilateral relations — suggesting that Obama had no right to urge Cuba to make even small concessions. He also seemed to suggest too much was being made of Raul’s comments about discussing everything with U.S. authorities.

“Affirming that the president of Cuba is ready to discuss any topic with the president of the United States expresses that he’s not afraid to broach any subject,” Fidel Castro wrote of his 77-year-old brother, who succeeded him 14 months ago.

“It’s a sign of bravery and confidence in the principles of the revolution,” he said.

“Nobody should assume that he was talking about pardoning those sentenced in March 2003 and sending all of them to the United States, if the country were willing to liberate the five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes,” Castro wrote.

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