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Castro's Done Praising Obama Now

(AP/Argentina Presidency)
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro says he's received an "immediate response" from the White House to a column he posted online Wednesday evening, and he's clearly disappointed with what he heard.

His latest comments were posted late Thursday on a Cuban Web site and were to be published in the country's press Friday.

On Wednesday, Castro questioned what the new U.S President plans to do about Washington's almost five-decade-old economic and trade embargo on Cuba, among other issues of concern to Havana.

Castro said Thursday that within hours of his question being posted on cubadebate.cu, the answer came in an exchange between White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and reporters.

"It's of no importance that he failed to mention my modest Reflection," the former Cuban leader said of his blog posting.

Castro, who was forced to take medical leave from the presidency two and a half years ago and decided not to run for office again in February 2008, says that, according to Emanuel, Mr. Obama's interests lie only with the Cuban-American community.

"They were not interested in the nearly 12 million Cubans living on the island," he charges.

Emanuel, "the man closest to the President", shied away from a question about his preference of "candidate in Cuba," writes Castro, who quotes Emanuel as saying, "I think the less said about Cuba the better."

Castro said that, while Mr. Obama's right-hand-man reiterated the position that Cuban-Americans will be permitted to travel to the island and send money back home, "the right of Americans to travel to Cuba was not even mentioned."

"Neither the Cuban Adjustment Act (which permits Cubans who reach U.S. territory illegally to stay there) nor the blockade deserved mention," he wrote sardonically. Castro raised both issues in his Wednesday column on Obama.

Thursday's was the third editorial column by Cuba's long-time leader that marked a turnaround from the positive tone he took shortly after Mr. Obama won the U.S. election. Initially, Castro described the new President as "honest" and "intelligent".

He has since criticized the American leader's position on Israel and the Palestinians, and called for the return of the land occupied in Eastern Cuba by the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.