Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro looks to be backing talks with the United States in his first comments on the subject since both countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties.
Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper Granma published a statement in which the 88-year-old said:
“Any peaceful or negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America that does not imply force or the use of force should be treated in
accordance with international norms and principles. We will always
defend cooperation and friendship with all the peoples of the world,
among them our political adversaries.”
Fidel stopped short of enthusiastically endorsing the rapprochement
with his longtime foe, announced in December by his brother and Cuba’s current president, Raul Castro, and US President Obama.
He said: “I don’t trust the policy of the United States nor have I had an exchange with them, but this does not mean … a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or the dangers of war”.
The United States and Cuba held historic high-level talks last week in Havana that are expected to lead to the re-establishment of diplomatic ties severed by Washington in 1961.
Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution and spent much of his 49 years in power railing against the United States, which never succeeded in many attempts to oust him.
He was finally forced into retirement in 2008 by poor health and was succeeded by his brother Raul, who is now 83.
Cuba was the Cold War ally of the former Soviet Union and although the relationship disintegrated after the USSR’s collapse, “it has again grown close to Russia whose President Putin visited last year.