Sunday, November 9, 2008


Albert Eisele, The Hill, Havana - Fidel Castro, it seems, views the election of Sen. Barack Obama as a possible first step toward ending a half-century of hostile relations between Cuba and the United States. But he's not about to take the first step towards achieving that elusive goal, even though the Cuban public appears overwhelmingly in favor of closer economic and diplomatic ties with the U.S., and convinced that Obama (D-Ill.) is more likely to make that happen than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would have been. . . A statement by Castro made public by the state-run media just hours before the polls closed in the U.S. . . sharply criticized the U.S. and McCain, while praising Obama, whom he called "surely more clever, better educated and calm than his Republican adversary" and "the best political speaker in the United States in the past decades."

And, in what American officials here interpreted as a sign that it will be difficult for the Cuban government to criticize America's first black president when nearly 34 percent of the country's 11.2 million citizens are black or mixed-race, Castro pointedly referred to Obama's racial background while condemning America's racial history.


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