By Dylan Matthews
It appears Fidel feels left out:
Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama "misinterpreted" his brother Raul's remarks regarding the United States and bristled at the suggestion that Cuba should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from abroad as a goodwill gesture to the U.S.
Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw in nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their U.S. counterparts and discuss "everything," including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners on the island.
Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba, but he also said Sunday that Cuba should release some political prisoners and reduce official taxes on remittances sent to the island from the U.S.
That appeared to enrage Fidel Castro, 82, who wrote in an essay posted on a government Web site that Obama "without a doubt misinterpreted Raul's declarations."
Obviously, responding to an offer to negotiate on "everything" including human rights and political prisoners with a willingness to negotiate on "everything", including human rights and remittance reform is not a "misinterpretation" or even particularly out of line. But more to the point, why are we supposed to care what Fidel says? Sure, he was president until recently, and sure he may be a decent proxy for his brothers' viewpoints, but when he and his brother clearly disagree, as in this case, I'm hard-pressed to see the political significance of a statement like this. Interesting? Sure. Newsworthy? Perhaps. Likely to effect the chances of rapprochement? I doubt it.