Fidel Castro hails Obama’s ‘honesty’

January 23rd, 2009 - 8:24 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaHavana, Jan 23 (IANS) Ailing Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has called new US President Barack Obama a “honest” person with good intentions, but expressed doubt whether he could transform those into action. The former Cuban president said Obama’s inaugural speech as “impressive” in a comparative article “Reflection” recounting Castro’s conversation Wednesday with visiting Argentine head of state Cristina Fernandez, EFE news agency reported Friday.

“I told her (Fernandez) that personally, I did not harbour the slightest doubt about the honesty with which Obama expressed his ideas, but that despite his noble intentions, many questions remain to be answered,” Castro said.

The leftist leader also didn’t miss the opportunity to rub in that Cuba’s half-century-old communist regime has now survived 10 US presidents, despite more than four decades of the US economic embargo.

“By way of example, I wondered: how can a wasteful and consumerist system par excellence preserve the environment,” Castro said in his first article since mid-December.

During the election campaign, Obama said he would meet with the Cuban president, Fidel’s brother Raul. He has mentioned the possibility of easing restrictions on travel and currency transfers to the Caribbean island.

But Obama has made clear the embargo would stay in place until Cuba adapts democracy.

Raul Castro has also expressed his willingness to meet Obama at a neutral location, perhaps Guantanamo Bay.

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