As Cubans celebrate ex-President Fidel Castro’s 89th birthday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will officially mark the occasion by finally opening the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
Castro, now retired, served as president up to 2008. A key figure in the 1953 to 1959 Cuban Revolution, fighting alongside Che Guevara, Fidel is either loved or loathed for his Communist Party type governance imposed on the island.
Castro decided to step down due to ill health, now dedicating time to public speeches and essays.
“Fidel is not a man who cares about fanfare … strange enough as it might seem, he doesn’t like when the spotlight is so much on him,” Havana native Alexandra Rodriquez told the Jamaica Observer.
“Fidel made some mistakes in the running of the economy, but nobody will remember those mistakes. The economy will be influenced for many years to come by the Fidel Castro thinking. He created values in people and decided strategies.” Professor Fernandez Professor of Economics and a member of the Centre for U.S. and Hemispheric Studies at the historic University of Havana added.
Yet despite re-establishing relations with the U.S. Castro has published a critique in Cuba’s Granma newspaper exclaiming that “nearly all the gold in the world was used to create the U.S.’ golden arches.”
Reality and Dreams
In the letter, entitled “Reality and dreams”, Fidel goes on to dissect the affect that relations with the U.S. has had on the island:
Just as Nixon violated his commitments undertaken to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A high number of experts in this area, created a crisis setting, which among other disasters, threatened to hit the country’s economic model hard. Meanwhile, Cuba became indebted from all the payouts, rising to around several million dollars which our country denounced through arguments and examples during its long speeches held at the United Nations.
Yet Kerry seems happy enough to walk around Havana “meeting whoever I meet and listening to them and having, you know, whatever views come at me.”
The visit is more symbolic than diplomatic, after the U.S. and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations on July 20.