December 6th, 2008
09:34 AM ET
14 years ago

Castro expresses willingness to meet with Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has largely been out of the political scene since falling ill in 2006."]HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) - Former Cuban President Fidel Castro says he is open to the idea of meeting with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.

"With Obama, one can talk whenever he wants, because we're not preachers of violence or war," the communist leader wrote in an essay published Thursday on a state-run Web site. "He must be reminded that the carrot-and-stick theory cannot be applied in our country."

Friday's missive marked the second time in recent weeks that a Cuban leader has said he is open to meeting with Obama.

In the latest issue of The Nation, actor Sean Penn writes of his recent conversation in Havana with Raúl Castro, who took over as president this year from his ailing brother.

According to Penn, Raúl Castro told him, "Perhaps we could meet at Guantanamo. We must meet and begin to solve our problems, and at the end of the meeting, we could give the president a gift. ... We could send him home with the American flag that waves over Guantanamo Bay."

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Cuba
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Juan Grain

    Why, he is no longer in charge?

    December 6, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. Vincent Dunston

    I think, as the greatest power in the world, that we should have the guts to sit down with allies as well as our enemies. The arrogant cowboy demeanor of the current administration has only hurt some of our ties with allies and worsened the situation with most of our enemies. Lets sit down and see what possible solutions are on the table and try to shift an enemy to a possible ally.

    December 6, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Nick

    There is nothing wrong with having a conversation.

    Now I don't like what Raul has said. Maybe we shouldn't be in Guantanamo, whatever, but don't make those comments. We'll be less likely to talk then.

    And Sean Penn? I think I'm going to boycott his movies.

    December 6, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Godluvr

    Sean Penn? Please, let's leave politics in the political arena. Is he (Penn) serious, or is he practicing for a role? I think with pre-conditions, the Secretary of State-to-be and/or the President-Elect will meet with him or his brother.

    December 6, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. TJ

    It would certainly be a positive sign if after all these years we could move toward reestablishing relations with our neighbor Cuba and the other neighbors to our south in the Caribbean, to include Central and South America. This is clearly in our national interests and it is the right thing to do. I hope that we can grasp this opportunity and turn the current relationship into something that will benefit both parties.

    December 6, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  6. ck

    Boy... this is where Obama can apply all his experience dealing with communist leaders...


    December 6, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. jonathan rosenfeld

    stop the war in the middle east please no more killing of jewish people thank's jonathan

    December 6, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. Castro .." The bed in the Lincoln bedroom is to soft"

    President of Iran.." The bed in the Lincoln Bedroom is too hard

    Russia ( Daddy Bear): "That bed in the Lincoln Bedroom is just right!!!"

    North Korean President:. " I'd stop my nuke program if they would put a pillow top on the bed in the lincoln bedroom"

    Of course they all want to talk to Obama.......cause they know he's a push-over!!!!

    December 6, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. Ray Fisher

    It is well past time to enter a dialogue with Castro, not because he is a nice person but because isolation creates enemies which we can ill afford. The situation between our nations has always been strained partly because Castro has a habit of exposing our faults by refusing to play the politically correct game. While Castro possesses plenty of faults, by exposing them we reveal plenty of our own. I'm hopeful that Obama will meet with him setting the stage for relations with a Castro-less Cuba in the future!!!

    December 6, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Zaphod2000

    Good. It's about time that the Cuban people have a chance to experience, if at all possible, how the rest of the world has been progressing while time has stood still for the Island since 1959.
    Get rid of the embargo and give the Cubans a chance to grow and prosper.

    December 6, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    I'm not sure just how to take Raul Castro's last comment, but I do think it's time the U.S. and Cuba resolve their differences and quit acting like a bunch of 5 year olds. Actually, 5 year olds probably act better. Considering Cuba's proximity to the U.S., I would really prefer to have them as friends and not enemies. What the hey are we either one accomplishing with this stand-off that's been going on for 50 years now???
    I say, let's meet and work out our problems!

    December 6, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Jerry

    Bring the Cubans into the American fold and end the stupid stand off.

    December 6, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. FreeNLovIt

    Great! To dream of reconciliation is the first step toward democracy

    December 6, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. katiec

    It is time for this ridiculous farce to end. There is no reason we cannot have a good relationship with Cuba. The politicians talk about their suppression on people, but look at China and some of the other countries we support and welcome with open arms.
    It will be wonderful to have a president that listes and hears what other countries have to say. It is time for my way or no way to end.

    December 6, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. seattle

    dang this man still stand stron for his princples. got to love him sometimes.

    December 6, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. Brad - California

    Dialogue, honesty and action are where America's future lies, because we certainly haven't any of that in recent years. But who really cares what Sean Penn says or thinks?

    December 6, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. GE - MD

    It's way past time for talking with Fidel Castro and other Cuban reps. This nonsense has been going on for 40+ years – time to move on. Pres Obama could usefully shock the work by making his first foreign guest or vist to be Castro/Cuba and lift this foolish embargo. The communist system in Cuba will collapse in 5 years or less.

    December 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Be sure to get some Cuban cigars.

    December 6, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Fredi

    Why do we hate Castro and Cuba so much?
    How many Americans has he killed? Compared to Germany, Japan, Vietnam, Iraq, ....
    What is so special about Cuba that we are determined to hate forever?
    Aren/t we (allegedly) a Christian nation, one Nation under God ... love your enenmies, blessed are the peace makers, etc. – remember?
    Going to church and judging others is NOT being Christian – loving and forgiving is.

    December 6, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Gaylon Barrow


    December 6, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Jaye

    This is a necessary meeting IMO – we need to make friends with Cuba.

    December 6, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Dr. Stoner

    Sean Penn, thinks he is so cool well, when I lived in Miami, my friends aunt came over in and inner tube raft, her head was the size of a watermelon, because Castro's gorillas beat her for trying a prior time, Sean you are or were a so so actor, more a legend in your own mind. You and your chic, crowd think gangsters are people that need understanding and liberal sympathy, well perhaps but Castro he is a murder and a gangster like Hitler and Stalin and Mao, the bodies are just hidden in the forrests.

    December 6, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. brooklyn

    Our President should NEVER meet with people like this... EVER.

    December 6, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Common Sense!!!

    Is he still alive???? he is some thing else. 1, Castro 2, Saddam Hussain 3, George W Bush 4, Stalin 5, Hitler they all had dreams and they all have lived up to there dreams.

    All are Bad Fruits and Vegies....

    December 6, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. Meka

    This would be a great position, for the US to take. Thank you President-Elect Obama, for having the INTELLIGENCE, to clearly understand what is NECESSARY-for America to estabilish PEACE.

    Obama has the RIGHT VISION, for America. We are blessed to have him, willing to work with other Countries-to find COMMON GROUND!

    December 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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