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In Latest Blog Post, Castro Criticizes Obama

(AP Photo/Jose Goitia)
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has released another blog post, using the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay and the current Mideast situation as fodder for criticizing President Barack Obama, who Castro had previously praised.

In a post on Cuban Web site www.cubadebate.cu entitled "Deciphering the Thinking of the New United States President," Castro takes Mr. Obama to task for saying that returning Guantanamo to Cuban control would depend on whether it might have even a minimal impact on U.S. defense capacities.

Castro also criticizes Mr. Obama for saying that Cuba would have to make concessions first – a position Castro characterized as "demanding a change in its political system, a price Cuba has fought against paying for the last half century."

Castro reiterates Cuba's position—that the base is occupied against the will of the Cuban people and "violates the most elemental principles of international law". It's within the U.S. president's power to return the base, writes Castro, and not to do so is an "act of arrogance and an abuse of his immense power against a small country."

The lease on the Guantanamo naval base does not have an expiration date and has been occupied since the end of the Spanish-American War, when it first served as a coaling station.

Castro then shifts his attack to statements made by Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, which, he notes, reflect a continuation of the previous administration's policy of total support for Israel – referring to the right the U.S.'s main ally in the region to "protect its citizens," or in Castro's words "sharing the genocide against the Palestinians".

He accuses the United States of having turned Israel into an "important nuclear power" that purchases a large portion of U.S.'s military exports each year, purchases "with which it [Israel] threatens extreme violence against the population of all the Muslim countries."

This is not a surprising position for Castro to take. Cuba has always strongly supported the Palestinian people and the PLO maintains an embassy in Havana.

But Cuba has never advocated the destruction of the state of Israel and was among the first countries to recognize its existence.

Cuba has and continues to do business with Israeli companies. In past decades, Israeli agricultural specialists have traveled to Cuba to help in the development of the island's citrus industry and a major business complex comprising some six office buildings and commercial space was built as a joint venture between Cuba and an Israeli company.

Israeli tourism to Cuba is also on the rise, though exact figures are not available because there are no direct flights between the two countries.

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