CAMAGUEY, Cuba (AP) - Cuba’s acting president Raul Castro recently stated that Cuba has avoided the collapse the U.S. predicted when his brother Fidel Castro fell ill a year ago, and signaled he was willing to talk with a new American administration after President Bush leaves power.
Mr. Castro said the island suffered “a hard blow” when Fidel relinquished power last year, but he focused more on the future while addressing tens of thousands of loyalists recently celebrating Cuba’s Revolution Day.
“These have truly been difficult moments, although with a diametrically different impact than that expected by our enemies, who wished for chaos to take hold and for Cuban socialism to collapse,” Mr. Castro said. “Senior U.S. officials even made statements about taking advantage of this scenario to destroy the revolution.”
Cuba “could hardly even suspect what a hard blow was awaiting us” when his brother was last seen exactly a year ago, Raul told the crowd in this city of narrow colonial streets southeast of Havana.
“Despite our deep sorrow, no task was left undone,” he said. “There is order in the country and a lot of work.”
Washington’s 45-year-old embargo prohibits U.S. tourists from visiting the island and chokes off nearly all trade between both countries. Raul called the Bush administration “erratic and dangerous,” but said he would be open to discussing improved relations after a new president takes over following next year’s elections.
“If the new United States authorities would finally desist from their arrogance and decide to converse in a civilized manner, it would be a welcome change,” he said.
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