Fidel Castro wants the United States to give him money — a lot of it.
Cuba’s former brutal communist dictator celebrated his 89th birthday Thursday, and wants — make that demands — that the U.S. give him a birthday present in the form of “many millions of dollars” he says the U.S. owes him for its 53-year trade embargo with that country.
And, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry being Obama and Kerry, they just may give it to him.
Castro’s demand came one day before Kerry’s scheduled visit Friday to reopen the U.S. Embassy in Havana, the next step to normalizing relations with Cuba.
In 1962, three years after Castro seized power, then-President John F. Kennedy established a trade embargo with Cuba.
The French news organization AFP reported:
President Barack Obama wants Congress to lift it, although U.S. officials say this will take time and is not an automatic part of the restoration of ties, as it requires congressional action.
Many Republicans, who control both chambers of the legislature, oppose the idea, insisting Cuba has to improve its human rights record and make other democratic reforms.
Castro made his demand for reparations in the form of an essay published in local media.
“Cuba is owed compensation equivalent to damages, which total many millions of dollars, as our country has stated with irrefutable arguments and data in all of its speeches at the United Nations,” he wrote.
Castro wasn’t specific about how many “millions of dollars” the U.S. owes Cuba. However, the U.S. has said for decades that it’s Cuba that owes it money for property the Castro regime confiscated when it grabbed power.
In 2006, Castro turned the reins of power over to his brother Raul because of poor health, but that hasn’t changed the brutal nature of the Castro regime. Fidel Castro still keeps busy, primarily writing essays like the one on Thursday.
“Writing is a way to be useful, if you keep in mind that we poor humans must be more and better educated in the face of the incredible ignorance that surrounds us all, except for researchers who use science to seek a satisfactory answer,” Castro wrote.
The flag-raising ceremony set for Friday will be overseen by Kerry, and will be similar to one in Washington, D.C., at the newly reopened Cuban Embassy.
In a bow to history, three of the U.S. Marines who lowered the flag at the U.S. embassy on Havana’s waterfront will be on hand to help raise it, according to USA Today.
Although a wave of politicians, business leaders and students are expected to converge on the island nation, many from both countries are unhappy about reopening relations.
USA Today reported:
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a Republican presidential candidate, sent a letter to Kerry earlier this week calling the decision a “slap in the face” to the dissidents who continue to face political persecution, beatings and arrest.
Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White dissident movement in Havana, was one of 90 people arrested Sunday for several hours after holding protests. The group donned masks of Obama to protest that Cuba was not required to improve its human rights record as part of the deal. She said it was insulting to leave out dissidents from the flag-raising ceremony.
“It’s a way to silence those of us who are fighting every day to achieve some dignity in this country,” Soler said.
Fox News was on hand to record the flag-raising over the embassy:
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