Fidel Castro demands unconditional return of Guantanamo

January 30th, 2009 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaMoscow, Jan 30 (RIA Novosti) Former Cuban president and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has demanded that the US unconditionally return the Guantanamo Bay military base to his country.In an article published Thursday on the CubaDebate website, the communist leader sharply criticised the new US administration and accused President Barack Obama of supporting Israel in its “genocide” of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

Fidel’s younger brother and present Cuban President Raul Castro, who is on an official visit to Moscow until Feb 4, has also demanded the return of the military base to his country.

After the Spanish-American War, the US occupied Cuba, and in 1903 signed a perpetual agreement with the new government of Cuba on renting the base at Guantanamo Bay.

Since the revolution, Cuba has insisted that the agreement is illegal under the international law.

On the first day in office, Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre within a year.

He has also said relations between Washington and Havana needed to be normalised, but stressed that he was not ready to remove the trade embargo placed on Cuba 46 years ago.

Fidel Castro, 82, who is known for his anti-US rhetoric, had earlier called Obama a “honest man” and praised his inaugural speech.

“No one can doubt the sincerity of his words,” Castro said about Obama’s speech in a column last week. He, however, said he had little faith that the 44th president of US would be able to overcome the “contradictions of the system”.

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