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CUBA: Havana seeks better ties with U.S.; Fidel Castro attacks Obama

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REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY -- After fading out of sight for a couple of months, prompting rumors again of his possible demise, aging Cuban leader Fidel Castro has sauntered back onto the scene with a scathing critique of favorite target Barack Obama.

But even as Castro used his column “Reflections” to denounce what he described as muddled and hypocritical U.S. foreign policy, his own country’s foreign minister was in New York calling for improved U.S.-Cuban ties.

If that seems a bit yin-yang, it’s not, really. Castro is playing to a dwindling domestic and international audience, while Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez is looking to his government’s future.

Rodriguez, addressing the United Nations General Assembly this week, sounded some of the same themes as Castro, including the view that U.S. and NATO support for anti-Kadafi forces in Libya represented “foreign aggression” and that a U.S. veto of Palestinian statehood would be a “moral, political and legal” failure.

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But he goes on, in the final passages of his speech, to call for the “normalization” of Cuba’s relations with the U.S. and “the beginning of a dialogue” aimed at solving bilateral problems like the smuggling of drugs and humans.

Cuba and the U.S. have made fitting starts at thawing relations that have suffered for half a century. For every few steps forward, including new economic openings by Havana and the lifting of a handful of restrictions by Washington, there seem to be another few steps backward.

In a two-part column this week, his first in more than two months, Castro (@ReflexionFidel) attacked Obama’s appearance before the U.N. as ‘gibberish.’

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-- Tracy Wilkinson



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