Fidel Castro lashes out at U.S. on birthday

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2016

Fidel Castro turns 90 today and thousands of Cubans have already gathered to celebrate.

The BBC's Will Grant in Havana says that Fidel Castro now has all but retired from public life and is thought to exercise limited influence over political affairs in Cuba.

A parade complete with colorful floats, marching bands, and salsa dancers progressed along the Malecon seafront for several miles. "To 90 years past, and to 90 more!"

"I want to express my deepest gratitude for the show of respect, greetings, and praise that I've received in recent days, which gave me strength to reciprocate with ideas that I will send to party militants and relevant organizations", he wrote.

The revolutionary leader, once known for his ever-present cigar and military fatigues, criticized Obama for not apologizing to the Japanese for the atomic bombs dropped during World War II.

Castro accompanies his thanks with reminiscences about his childhood and youth.

The Op-Ed was not the first time Castro publicly criticized Obama. "I nearly laughed at the Machiavellian plans of U.S. Presidents", Mr. Castro said in the article published late on Friday. A week after the trip, Castro wrote a sternly worded letter admonishing Obama to read up on Cuban history, and declaring that "we don't need the empire to give us anything".

Castro's 1600-word editorial went on to recount USA led hostilities against the small island nation, including the famous Bay of Pigs invasion in the early 1960s and the strict embargo, which remains mostly in effect to date.

According to Cuban intelligence services, Mr. Castro faced about 634 plots between 1958 and 2000. He touched on his father's death shortly before his own victory in overthrowing U.S-backed strongman Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

Considered more pragmatic, the younger Castro also introduced market-style reforms to the state-dominated economy and increased personal freedoms, such as the right to travel overseas.

While many are hoping for change, Fidel Castro remains El Comandante, the commander-in-chief.

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