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. Meka


    December 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. chuck


    December 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. Kenya

    This is the tricky.... let him come to the whitehouse. Pls Obama don't go there.

    December 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. salma711

    Let them meet they should people are so racest come on many people think muslims are terorists not you guys lie to much.

    December 6, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Remember......

    George Bush's actions have prevented a Mumbai type terrorist attack (or worse) in this country for the past 7 years. But many people take their safety for granted. Bad mistake.

    Obama is bringing in woos diplomacy and we'll just have to see if it keeps Al Qaeda away from our shores.

    December 6, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Walt, Belton,TX

    Why not? Might as well bail out Cuba as we're bailing out everybody else! What's another few billions?

    December 6, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. rob

    said what?????

    December 6, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. truth be told

    Why dont we share a universal jail for war criminals and high officials convicted of crimes against humanity or crimes against citzens or sovereignty.

    It could be run jointly, with U.N. oversight

    and its first tenants will be Bush and Cheney....and Mugabe

    Then America could show the world not only that justice is being revived but that God has a sense of humor for those who use his name, or attempt to espouse his will in vain.

    December 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Franky

    "With Obama, one can talk whenever he wants, because we're not preachers of violence or war,"

    Ohh really Castro?? Tell that to the Mob, you remember? Because they remember you very well, LOL!! And that doesn't even sound right...

    I gotta say, he's at that age and old. Maybe, just maybe, he means it and wants to talk constructively BUT is gonna take a little more than to have a chat and so, I noticed Russia has been doing some moves lately and probably wants some recognition. Is Russia O.K? LOL!!!

    December 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. reginald smith fairfax va

    the right wing will run with this. !!!!!!!!

    December 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Bud

    Make amends, open trade and visitation completely and Cuba could be a great friend as political winds and the pragmatic Cubans warm to America. This should have happened years ago and Castro would have long been history. America could benefit with this trade opportunity and hungry and ambitious Cubans seek better lives. A great and oppressed Cuban culture will welcome some American tourist dollars too.

    December 6, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. Stu-Florida

    Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men...

    Time to show the world we are following the path towards a peaceful coexistance. Time to show the world why WE elected Barack Obama!

    December 6, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. bob

    And demonization to start.......3,2,1,0......................

    December 6, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. delighted democrat in florida

    if you cannot talk to someone, then how can you solve your differences without killing someone. there doesnt always have to be an enemy.

    December 6, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Gabriel

    It is ok if Obama talks with politicians of any nation.........people need to discuss even if they do not agree..............people need to keep open minds

    December 6, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Reality

    Obama isn't going to shut down Gitmo.

    The Castro family is not going to give Cubans any rights.

    Check back in 4 years.

    December 6, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Dorothy in NC

    Already there is a huge difference between a President who is willing to set up a line of communication and one who would rather use the same bullying looser techniques of the past 8 years. I remember during the campaign McCain said he would not talk to certain leaders and my thought was how can you have peace if you don't try to understand other people and cultures.
    I am so glad Obama is our President. Now we at least have hope of a more peaceful humanity.
    You know the old saying," if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got" and this is a perfect example. Obama put the threatening, arrogant, strong arm talk of the past administration away and let the world know a change is on the way.
    What a wonderful feeling to go thru the holidays and know that we have a peacemaker as President instead of a warmonger.

    December 6, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. B-Koi

    Now this is change we can believe in ! People actually talking to each other as equals ? No, it just can't be ! It is about time that we all realized that everyone has different views of the world and how things should go. You and I are not necessarily right all the time. We have the luxury of speaking our minds without getting shot, and actually have a voice . It may not always be heard, but we still have the right to be heard. Listening to other peoples views and telling ours is a GOOD THING! The people of Cuba deserve that right ! Lets support Obama and his vision for the Country and the world, let's give PEACE a chance.

    December 6, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. E

    At least one bright must all start with people sitting down at a non-bias table and opening up to discussion.

    This is way happens when the USA flexing muscle....

    December 6, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. E

    At least one bright must all start with people sitting down at a non-bias table and opening up to discussion.

    This is what can happen when the USA isn't flexing muscle....

    December 6, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Frann Altman in Los Angeles

    In Michael Moore's movie, Sicko, he presents Cuba as having a very competent health care system. Could it hurt to explore a meeting with them?

    Perhaps I am naive. Why only this morning I was called a breath of fresh air and applauded for my awe and wonder. Or maybe it was my Ah and Wander.

    December 6, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. Amanda

    I am glad for that. It is about time that this stupid embargo on Cuba is abolished.

    December 6, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. bob

    old news, I heard it in the radio 3weeks ago.. Kinda tired with CNN!!!

    December 6, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Pat Pa.

    About time to talk with this man. It is long overdue.

    December 6, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. IonaTrailer

    It's long past the time when we should have normalized relations with Cuba. The past strategy was completely ineffective. And kudos to the Cuban people who have the highest rate of literacy in the Western hemisphere, have medical care for everyone and one of the lowest infant mortality rates. Things we would do well to copy. There may be enemies of America in this world, but the Cuban people are not among them.

    December 6, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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