Monday, March 30, 2009

Fidel Castro criticizes Biden for embargo support

Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:13pm EDT

HAVANA (Reuters) - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro criticized U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday for saying that the United States will not lift its 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba.

Castro, in a column published on the Internet, said it was "fun to see how the guts of the empire (U.S.) churn, filled with problems and insurmountable contradictions with the people of Latin America."

Biden told reporters during a political summit in Chile on Saturday a "transition" is needed in U.S. policy toward the communist-ruled island, but replied in the negative when asked if the embargo would be ended.

He said he and President Barack Obama "think that Cuban people should determine their own fate and they should be able to live in freedom and with some prospect of economic prosperity."

The 82-year-old Castro, who resigned as Cuba's president last year but still has behind-the-scenes influence, said Biden's comments were a "pity" because all Latin American countries view the embargo as a "burden of the past."

(Reporting by Jeff Franks; editing by Alan Elsner)

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