No word yet from Fidel amid historic US-Cuba shift

  • Amid the excitement over the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, one person has been conspicuously absent: Fidel Castro. The former Cuban president hasn't made any public comment about the announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility.

    Amid the excitement over the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, one person has been conspicuously absent: Fidel Castro. The former Cuban president hasn't made any public comment about the announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility. Associated Press File Photo, July 2014

 
By ANNE-MARIE GARCIA
Associated Press
Updated 12/19/2014 12:31 PM

HAVANA -- Everyone in Cuba is talking about the abrupt turn in relations with the United States, with one notable exception: Fidel Castro.

The larger-than-life retired leader of Cuba so far has made no public comment about the announcement that the U.S. will restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility. His brother, President Raul Castro, broke the news to the nation in a TV address and may appear again Friday as the Cuban National Assembly holds one of its twice-annual sessions.

 

For years after he left office in 2006 due to illness, Fidel Castro penned editorials that dutifully were printed in all official media and read verbatim on state TV newscasts. Last year, he said he also was retiring as a columnist, but has since published occasional opinion pieces to comment on world events.

It's not entirely unusual that Castro, 88, has yet to weigh in on this week's news. He waited six days before commenting on the death of close friend and ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2013.

The elder Castro rarely appears in public, and little information about him is officially disclosed, including where he lives. But as before, his silence causes many to wonder.

"I think that Fidel is a little bit older and his activities are very limited, that's for certain," said Maria Teresa Ojito, a 66-year-old language teacher.

But, she said, "I'm not very worried because Raul is the one who's running the country. ... Really, the one who has to make decisions these days and enter into dialogue is Raul, not Fidel."

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