November 26th, 2008
02:50 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama camp declines comment on reported Castro offer

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Castro reportedly told an interviewer he would be willing to meet with Obama."](CNN) - The Obama transition team declined comment Wednesday on a report that Cuban President Raul Castro might be interested in meeting with the president-elect at Guantanamo Bay, and had told an interviewer Cubans could "send [Obama] home with the American flag that waves over" the U.S. base there.

Asked whether he would be willing to visit Washington to speak with Obama, Castro instead suggested to actor Sean Penn Guantanamo Bay could serve as "neutral ground" for discussions. Castro also told Penn, in an interview published in The Nation, that the two leaders "must meet and begin to solve our problems."

Raul Castro’s brother, longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, criticized Obama this spring for his position in favor of altering – but retaining – Washington’s nearly five-decade trade embargo on the island nation.

Obama came under fire from campaign rivals for his statement at a CNN/YouTube Democratic primary debate that he would be willing to meet without preconditions with Castro and other leaders hostile toward the United States.

–CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report

Filed under: Cuba
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Joshua College Station Texas

    To 'Frank from Peterborough':

    Amen brother.

    I would be happy for Obama to meet with Raul Castro at Gitmo. It would be ironic, fittingly asymmetric, and deeply satisfying to have the closing moments of Guantanamo be as a place of political reconciliation and of bringing us together with the world, rather than how it is now, as a symbol of our arrogance to and defiance of the world community, and of disdain for our fellow men.

    November 26, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Hall for Obama

    Jeff you need to get a life and try not to show your hate for the man so much. Maybe you did't vote for for Obama are you a McCain supporter.

    November 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Barbara

    You people just don't get it...........

    I am Cuban and I support the embargo so when you people can relate to what the Cuban people went through during the revolution then and only then can you have such an unknowlegable opinion.

    November 26, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. RO

    Absolutely,,,, it is time to meet with leaders...look at Bush in the past 8 years, he didn't meet with them and look where we are in this world now.

    November 26, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. FL for Obama

    "Welcome to the Obama Show" is really Sarah Palin in disguise...did ya'll know that? You betcha! Can't come up with one original idea on his/her own...just spewing hatred and sarcasm and lies...

    November 26, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. Barbara

    Oh and by the way those of you who are ignorant about traveling to Cuba think again. There are flight to/fm Havana everyday from Miami Internationa

    November 26, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    I find it astounding their are so many gutless and cowardly Americans that think starving a small country like Cuban and it's people with embargoes is going to somehow make them all safer.

    I guess this is what you get when you have dunces in power like the original homeland security jerk who advised people to wrap their homes in saran wrap for their own protection.

    Unless the U.S. takes some huge progressive steps to improve their backward culture you will just keep sliding back into a 3rd world country.

    November 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. Jen, Cali

    Send Al Franken.

    November 26, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Mike

    I see absolutely no downside–and a lot of upside–in Obama meeting with Castro and beginning the long process of normalizing relations with Cuba. As someone on here pointed out, the dialog between Nixon and Mao, conducted without preconditions by the way, eventually proved to be in both countries interest. The decades long embargo hasn't worked–it only hurts the wrong people, the poor. Opening channels with Cuba would only prove to be a powerful incentive towards democracy, and capitalism, in that country.

    November 26, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. ralph

    To Dee,

    You are so ignorant. You just sit there and listen to John McCain and then you quoting what he saying.

    Whether you like it or not all of those people are the leaders of there country and the world knows that. They won't become president or leaders if Obama meets with them. News flash, they are already the leaders.

    November 26, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Sadanie

    I agree with all the bloggers who believe that the time to end the embargo on Cuba is now, and is actually long overdue!
    I do not believe in "winning" wars through embargo or fire power. For the last 40 years, the only way to win wars is through economics.
    Embargo and fire power only multiply our ennemies. It is not our military that the world envy, it is our standard of living, our freedom, and our economics.
    At least this was true until a few months ago. Whether we regain this advantage is yet to be determined, but with President Elect Obama's leadership, I feel hopeful that we will.

    November 26, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. ihopeupostthisone

    The fact that Fidel Castrio offered Hurrican Katrina victims the aid of 1500 medical doctors, I think should be commended. Everyone wants to preach hate and separation all the time. Enough of this I say.

    November 26, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Dalek Dance Party

    Does anyone even remember why the embargo is in place?

    Look, it's time for us, the United States, to stop making enemies. The world is getting increasingly nasty. If it's not terrorists, it's pirates. If it's not pirates, it's some kind of natural or man-made disaster. Before too long, all of these other countries are gonna get together and leave us out in the cold.

    November 26, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  14. joey from san diego

    Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

    That is all that needs to be said on this article. GO OBAMA!!

    November 26, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse NY

    What failed Cuba policy? Did Castro have any success spreading ccommunism to Latin America? No. Cuba has been effectively contained for over 50 years without the need for an invasion or combat. The policy has been supported by every President, Republican or Democrat. In time, just like in the USSR, the communist system will fail of it's own weight. If it takes another 10 years or 20, so what? If the Cuban people don't like the fact that there's an embargo, let them change their system like Russia did.

    November 26, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Stop the nonsense

    Yeah Left,
    That's some "family values" you guys evolved there. Sacrilege seems to have sadly taken place of rational thought too often in my former party. Christians believe Christ is the Messiah, not a politician, as you are trying to purport with miguided rhetoric and mockery.

    November 26, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. linda from South Dakota

    i hope barack does have preconditions on some meetings because its not a safe thing to do without preconditions,,, may god watch over barack and his family durin his term,,,,^i^

    November 26, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    How really sad that our United States government hasn't taken a different attitude with the government of Cuba. The only reason can be that Cuba has nothing of value (no oil, no gold, no diamonds, only old Castros and cars) that our government can take away from it. Could it be that the United States government only sees Cuba as a drag on this economy? Is that what friendship is all about? Then what about Mexico? OH I understand now... WE get drugs and law breakers from Mexico, now THATS a good neighbor to have..

    November 26, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Beverly in NC

    This is a new day with an intelligent President who has impressed the world with his common sense approach to diplomacy before atracking. This would be a wonderful opportunity to reach out to Cuba and see what common ground we have.
    I know there are many Cuban families who have been separated for generations because of the former Castro regime.
    Nothing but goodness can come from talking and creating understanding between nations.
    Obama has the ability to heal our relationships and forge new ones with world leaders. The more allies we have, the more we can isolate the terrorists and make the world safer for everyone.

    November 26, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Jim Duff Jr

    My father who served his country for 24 years with the 82nd &101st Airborne Divisions of the United States Army was on a plane headed for Cuba During the Cuban Missile Crisis. If he is as smart as he claims to be , then he willdecline to meet with a true communist and refuse any other offers as such. This man-Castro needs to be extinguished like one of his banned cigars! He is a true idiot and should fade away just like a one-hit wonder. Maybe we should send him some agent red, white, blue and orange......................

    November 26, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. Peggy - TX

    Regrading earlier comments:

    Obama did not "promise" to meet with anyone nor has any opbligation to do so. He only said that "precoditions" were not a requirement.

    It makes since that Obama has hired people from Clintons administration; would you have expected that he hire people with out direct experince or only people from Bushe's administration. Just becasue he has done this, does not mean that I sould have voted for Hillary. I voted for Obama and he is performing already way beyond my expectations.

    Obama is not gullible and he is not a commie .. these accusations did not work in the compagn, and if you really truly belive them, you are an idiot.

    November 26, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The U.S. must recognize our enemy list is not getting any smaller. Diplomacy is the only way to stop that list from growing and restore respect as well as peace around the world. No more words of war, threats and name calling. Bring about peace.

    November 26, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Marie Ontario

    Isn't it amazing being a Canadian I don't need my government's permission to go to any country in the world. I guess maybe we are the real land of the free.

    I don't understand how the U.S. has managed to hand down 50 years of hate and take such pride in being a bullying nation.

    Every country in world has the right to govern themselves in what ever way they see fit without another country interference.

    Actually Cuba just might have a better quality of life than half of those in the U.S. if Obama doesn't get a number of his goals accomplished.

    November 26, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. European

    The Cubans are great people. And I believe the Cubans who have come to America have done well both economically and socially. They have a great community in Miami. And the Europeans who have travelled to Cuba as tourists, can confirm the peaceful and friendly nature of the people of Cuba. Cuba are not an enemy of the United States, and Raul Castro has already given the people of Cuba more freedoms, and seems to be altering the policies of his brother.

    Give Cuba a chance. Why not?

    November 26, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. JIM...TX

    GRIFF...that was cute...hurt your head coming up with that one???? Loser 🙂

    November 26, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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