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