By: WILL WEISSERT
06/20/09 9:20 PM EDT
HAVANA — Raul Castro dismissed Barack Obama's policy changes toward Cuba as "achieving only the minimum," and said Wednesday that it is up to the U.S. — not Cuba — to do more to improve relations.
The Cuban president suggested the communist government is not willing to appease Washington by embracing small political and social reforms on the island, saying in a speech before an international gathering of government ministers that "it is not Cuba who has to make gestures."
Raul's comments Wednesday appeared to take a harder line on unilateral concessions to meet U.S. expectations, and echoed the words of Fidel, who has written in public essays that Obama's policy changes did not go far enough because Washington's 47-year-old trade embargo is still in place.
The younger Castro said that the U.S. steps were, "fine, positive but only achieve the minimum. The embargo remains intact."
Cuba "will not to negotiate our sovereignty nor our political and social system, nor will it negotiate our right to self-determination and internal affairs," declared the Cuban president.
JG: Obama has not achieved much that is notable in his "new beginning" with Cuba. He is repeating and continuing the same failures of his ten predecessors. The U.S. is the aggressor country and therefore it is the one which has to change its behavior. Cuba will continue to ignore him as long as the embargo is kept in place.
If he were to reject the bad advice of Hillary Clinton and Robert Menendez, that would be real news and progress. Obama is stuck in the past and refuses to see the trees or the forest.