Who could blame Fidel Castro for being less than eager about the Obama administration’s efforts to improve diplomatic relations with Cuba?
For more than 50 years the two countries, separated by 90 miles of water, have shared a lot of history and plenty of bad blood. There was the 1959 Castro-led revolution, the failed U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion that followed and the missile crisis in 1962. Fortunately the then-Soviet Union blinked during that red hot period of the Cold War, or none of this talk about improved relations with Cuba would have been possible.
U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockades followed, and there have been those assassination attempts on Castro. It makes sense then that he would write in a letter (quoted in The New York Times), saying: “We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all of the world’s people, among them our political adversaries.... I shall explain my essential position in a few words. I do not trust the politics of the United States, nor have I exchanged a word with them, but this is not, in any way, a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts.”
Diplomatic efforts between the two countries haven’t produced any breakthroughs. Castro, 88, had been facing a serious undisclosed illness when he handed over power to his brother Raúl in 2006.
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Talks continue with many hoping for improved relations.