Although Obama did not meet Fidel during his three-day visit, he did spend time with his brother Raúl, the current Cuban president who took over from Fidel in 2008.
However, Fidel seemingly didn’t need to meet Obama in person to form an opinion about the leader and his historic visit to Cuba.
“My modest suggestion is that he reflects and doesn’t try to develop theories about Cuban politics,” Fidel wrote in the 1,500-word letter titled ‘El Hermano Obama’ (Brother Obama), adding that Cuba needs “no gifts from the empire.”
In the letter published by state media outlet Granma, Castro critiques Obama’s speech in Havana line by line.
He slams the president’s failure to acknowledge indigenous Cubans or give credit to his own prohibition of racial segregation after coming to power in 1959.
He goes on to recall perceived US aggression against Cuba, including the decades-long trade embargo against the island, the 1961 Bay of Pigs attack, and the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner backed by anti-Castro exiles who took refuge in the US.
Castro also criticizes the Obama administration’s efforts to strengthen business and economic ties with Cuba.
“No one should pretend that the people of this noble and selfless country will renounce its glory and its rights,” he wrote, adding that “we are capable of producing the food and material wealth that we need with the work and intelligence of our people.”
Referring to Obama’s statement that “it is time, now, for us to leave the past behind,” Castro said: “I imagine that any one of us ran the risk of having a heart attack on hearing these words from the President of the United States.”
Obama’s trip marked the first visit to Cuba by an American president in nearly 90 years. It followed the restoration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, and the re-opening of the US embassy in Cuba. Travel restrictions have also been eased on Americans traveling to the island nation. However, a US embargo against Cuba still remains in place. Obama said during his visit that he hopes the US Congress will soon scrap the trade restrictions.