President Barack Obama’s speech in Havana last week almost gave communist dictator Fidel Castro a heart attack. So writes someone claiming to be Castro in a rambling letter published by Cuban propaganda outlet Granma this morning, in which the alleged Castro accuses President Obama of viewing Native Americans as “nonexistent” and attempting to smother communism.
The extensive letter in Granma (full text here), titled “Brother Obama,” consists mostly of old war stories about Castro’s efforts to colonize Angola and spending quality time with Nelson Mandela. He spends the beginning of the letter praising Cuban founding fathers and complaining that “I have seen myself forced to discuss this matter,” referring to President Obama’s visit to Cuba.
“In a way I hoped that Obama’s conduct would be correct,” he writes of the American president during his visit to the island last week. “His humble origins and his natural intelligence were evident,” he says, noting that President Obama had once written a foreward for a biography of Nelson Mandela. “It was worth knowing men like that,” Castro says of Mandela, before returning to the topic at hand.
“Native populations do not exist at all in the mind of Obama,” he writes, adding that President Obama’s urging to leave behind the past during his speech last Tuesday was a threat. “One would assume that every one of us suffered the risk of a heart attack listening to the words of the President of the United States,” Castro allegedly writes. “Let no one be under the illusion that the people of this noble and selfless nation will renounce their glory and their rights, and the spiritual wealth it has gained through the development of education, science, and culture.”
The Castro brothers have been peddling this “spiritual wealth” for years, as actual wealth exists only among those in the highest levels of power in the Communist Party in Cuba. All others are forced to use an apartheid currency system to buy rationed products while working jobs that pay as little as $20 a month. In 2014, Cuba announced a major raise for the nation’s doctors, among the most prestigious jobs on the island, to $64 a month.
“We do not need the Empire to gift us anything,” the writer claiming to be Castro concludes.
The elder Castro’s letter contrasts significantly in tone with dictator Raúl Castro’s willingness to have some fun with President Obama, enjoying a friendly baseball game between the Cuban national team and the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays. The younger Castro insisted at a press conference alongside President Obama, however, that Cuba does not imprison pro-democracy dissidents and demanded President Obama give the Cuban government territorial power over Guantánamo Bay, which has long been an American property. He also insisted on the United States lifting all economic sanctions on the Castro regime. In turn, President Obama said he “welcomed” Castro’s attacks on the United States, lamenting that “Congress is not as productive as I would like.”
It is estimated that more than 50 political dissidents were arrested during President Obama’s visit– that many shortly before Air Force One landed in Havana, and dozens of others attempting to protest openly. Among them were the heads of multiple dissident groups, including Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, the artist Danilo Maldonado ‘El Sexto’, and Estado de SATS leader Antonio Rodiles. Other opposition members were held under house arrest. Videos showed state police beating dissidents, picking them up by their ankles and hair, and shoving them onto buses to take them out of Havana. Most were released, only to be arrested the next time they attempt to publicly express their opinions.