Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Former Cuban President Fidel Castro accused U.S. Republican Party presidential contenders of “idiocy and ignorance” after two of them called on the U.S. to do more to support Cubans who want to overthrow the island’s communist regime.
The 85-year-old former leader’s comments, published today in a “Reflections” column on the Cuba Debate website, come less than a week before the party’s Jan. 31 primary in Florida, home to many Cuban Americans.
In a Jan. 24 Republican Party presidential debate, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich criticized President Barack Obama for not encouraging Cubans who want to overthrow the Cuban government headed by Fidel’s brother, Raul.
While the U.S. has for more than five decades regarded Cuba as destined “to fall into her bosom like ripe fruit,” Castro wrote, “the fruit did not fall.” He went on to scorn “the candidates that aspire to be the president of that globalized imperialist reign.”
Before a gathering of Cuban-Americans in Miami today, Romney said “it is time for us to strike for freedom in Cuba.”
“If I’m fortunate enough to become the next president of the United States, it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet,” Romney said. “I doubt he’ll take any time in the sky. He’ll find a nether region to be more to his comfort.”
Gingrich also called for efforts to get rid of the Cuban government.
“The plan would be to take all of the tools that Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Prime Minister Thatcher used to break the Soviet Empire,” Gingrich said at a forum sponsored by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Miami-Dade College and Univision. “They went at it psychologically, they went at it economically, they went at it diplomatically, they went at it with covert operations. They maximized the growth of solidarity. They provided tools.”
Gingrich said he would also reach out to younger Cubans, telling them, “you have no future propping up the dictatorship. You have a wonderful future if you are willing to become a democracy.”
Elsewhere in Castro’s 2,100-word column, the former leader also thanked “brother nation” Venezuela for its fight against a U.S.-backed free-trade agreement backed by former President George W. Bush. He said the accord aimed to extract all of South America’s natural resources.
Castro also said news agencies that attributed the death of a Cuban prisoner this month to a hunger strike were wrong, and that the man died of organ failure caused by a respiratory infection. The man received “the best medical services in the world” prior to his death, Castro said.
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