Fidel Castro says Cuba 'has no need of gifts' from US

Cuban former president suggests resistance to rapprochement between Washington and Havana will continue in opinion piece that his country 'has no need of gifts' from US

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Cuba's former President Fidel Castro (R) and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro meet in Havana on March 20, 2016.

Cuba's Fidel Castro implied continued resistance to rapprochement between Washington and Havana, writing in an opinion piece on Monday that his country "has no need of gifts" from the United States.

The former president, 89, remained out of sight during last week's historic visit to the communist island by US President Barack Obama which aimed to cement normalisation.

According to his first published opinion about the visit, he seemed reluctant to forget more than five decades of bilateral enmity, declaring in Granma newspaper that Cuba “has no need of gifts from the empire.”  

He made his remarks in a piece entitled "El Hermano Obama" -- "Brother Obama."

"Listening to the words of the US president could give anyone a heart attack," Castro said, in an ironic barb.

"Nobody has any illusion that the people of this noble and selfless country will surrender glory and rights and the spiritual wealth that has come through the development of education, science and culture."

Obama made a three-day visit to Cuba—the first by a US president in 88 years—cheered Cubans calling for democracy and greater freedoms, and took part in baseball diplomacy during a match between Cuban and American professional players.   

The landmark visit was spearheaded by the US president and Cuba's current leader Raul Castro after, who has proven to be far more reform-minded than the revolutionary icon brother whom he succeeded as the island's president a decade ago.

In December 2014, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shocked the world by announcing the former adversaries would normalise relations after a 54-year break.

In April 2015 Obama met Castro on the side lines of an Americas summit in Panama in the first face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the two countries after more than half a century.

Since handing the presidency over to his younger brother, Fidel Castro has spent his time writing reflections which occasionally appear in the communist party press.