The FINANCIAL — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro criticized U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for ruling out any imminent lifting of the country's long-term economic embargo against Cuba, Latin American media said on March 30.
Biden, who attended the Progressive Governance Summit in Chile on March 28, said a "transition" was needed in U.S. policy toward Cuba, but reiterated that Washington had no plans to end the 47-year embargo.
The 82-year-old Castro, who stepped down as Cuba's president last year, said in his latest essay on the CubaDebate website that Biden's comments were a "pity" because all Latin American countries viewed the embargo as a "burden of the past."
"It is fun to see how the guts of the [U.S.] empire churn, filled with problems and insurmountable contradictions with the peoples of Latin America, which the U.S. always wanted to dominate," Castro wrote.
U.S. President Barack Obama said after his inauguration in January that Washington needed to normalize relations with Havana and issued instructions to close the controversial Guantanamo prison in Cuba, used to hold terrorist suspects, in one of his first acts after taking office.
However, he said that he would maintain the embargo in a bid to bring about democracy on the communist-ruled Caribbean island.
The United States imposed an economic, trade and financial embargo against Cuba in 1962, three years after the Cuban Revolution that saw the downfall of Washington-backed dictator General Fulgencio Batista. The Cuban government estimates that the blockade has resulted in financial losses of around $86 billion.