Cuba: Clinton's comments on Castros 'cynical'
By WILL WEISSERT
Associated Press Writer
HAVANA -- Cuban state media dismissed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton as a cynic on Monday for her assertion that Fidel and
Raul Castro don't want Washington's 48-year embargo lifted because they
would no longer be able to blame America for their country's problems.
Clinton's comment last week "mixed ignorance and falsehoods at an
infinite level," state-run Radio Reloj said.
"If cynicism needed an expression that would immortalize it, the
American secretary of state gave it," the station said in a report read
over the air and posted on its Web site.
Clinton's remarks also appeared without further commentary on
Cubadebate, the government Internet site where Fidel Castro publishes
frequent opinion pieces. The elder Castro dropped out of public view
after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006, and his
brother Raul has since taken over the presidency.
Following a speech on nuclear terrorism at the University of Louisville
on Friday, Clinton said, "it is my personal belief that the Castros do
not want to see an end to the embargo and do not want to see
normalization with the United States because they would lose all of
their excuses for what hasn't happened in Cuba in the last 50 years."
Cuban officials of ranks high and low routinely fault the embargo for
the vast majority of daily difficulties on the island - from shortages
of housing, food and domestic goods to severely limited Internet access
and spotty public transpiration.
The communist government says the U.S. policy, which took its current
form in 1962 and chokes off trade between both countries - with some
exceptions for food and agricultural goods - has cost it at least $96
billion to date.
Clinton said Cuba should be given an opportunity for a transition to
full democracy, but that may not happen anytime soon under an
"intransigent, entrenched regime."
Whenever it looks like normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations could be a
possibility, she added, "the Castro regime does something to try to
The Obama administration says it has worked to thaw nearly a
half-century of ice-cold U.S. relations with Cuba in a number of ways,
including easing limits on Cuban-Americans who want to travel or send
money to the island that were imposed by George W. Bush. Top officials
from both countries have also met to discuss resuming direct mail
service and tackle immigration issues, as well as relief efforts in
Obama says Washington has no intention of lifting the embargo unless
Cuba embraces democratic and human rights reforms and frees its
political prisoners, who independent human rights groups on the island
say number around 200.
Cuba's government counters that it holds no political prisoners and
protects human rights better than most countries since its communist
system provides free health care and education through college to all
Cubans, as well as heavily subsidized housing, utilities, food and