Cuba’s former president and leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro said that Cuba “has no need of gifts” from the United States, in an opinion piece Monday. The comments came a week after U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to the country, the first by a U.S. president since 1928.
In a piece titled “El Hermano Obama” which translates to “Brother Obama,” Castro reportedly signaled resistance to the normalization of relations between the two countries and criticized Obama’s calls “to forget the past and look to the future.”
“We are able to produce food and material wealth we need with the effort and intelligence of our people. We do not need the empire to gift us anything,” Castro said in an article published in Cuba’s Granma daily newspaper.
“One assumes that every one of us ran the risk of a heart attack listening to these words,” Castro said in his column, dismissing Obama’s comments as “honey-coated” and reminding Cubans of the many U.S. efforts to overthrow and weaken the Communist government.
Castro, 89, laced his opinion piece with nationalist sentiment and, bristling at Obama’s offer to help Cuba, said the country was able to produce the food and material riches it needs with the efforts of its people.
In late 2014, Obama announced that U.S. would begin to normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of non-engagement and hostilities. The two countries established embassies in their capital cities in July 2014.
Obama’s three-day visit earlier in March included taking part in baseball diplomacy during a match between Cuban and American professional players.
Cuba’s current leader and Fidel’s younger brother Raul Castro has spearheaded the policy shift, which could mean a relaxation in the flow of commerce and transportation by the U.S. to Cuba.