August 7th, 2010
11:16 AM ET

Fidel Castro addresses assembly

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro addressed a special session of the National Assembly for the first time in four years Saturday.

Castro had kept out of sight while he recuperated from a life-threatening intestinal illness that required several surgeries.

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Filed under: Cuba • Fidel Castro • World
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Luca

    Viva Fidel!

    August 7, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Cuban Alex

      Viva Fidel!? You obviously have absolutely NO idea about Cuba, it's history, it's people or this horrible man! The sooner he dies the better. It's actually unfortunate that he didn't die during his "revolution" 50+ years ago.

      August 7, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Suad


      August 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • JamesC

      I have more respect for Fidel than any current leader on the world stage. He is in an impossible situation with an illegal embargo imposed by the biggest military on the planet. Despite the the UNs condemnation of it and world rejection of the embargo, it still goes on. Americans who know the history are rightly ashamed. People are suffering because of it. Not acknowledging that doesn't make it right. Obama has been a real let down on the Cuban issue but he chose the easy path like all US Presidents do and has kept up the charade which is sad. Oh, I've been to Cuba so drop the "liberal Dreamer" crap.....

      August 7, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • a young cuban, born and raised there, living in NY now

      he is the last sacred personality, lived the history that nobody has, brough the cuban people to the level that no other latin america country has, the values that no doctor has in america, the education that none of teh countries has in south america, gained the respect of the real heroes, cleaned my country, tehre is not drug dealing, or human traffic, or kids working or sleeping in the streets, or sicarios, or guerrilla controlling the mountains and the drug business, or doctors letting people die cuz cant pay, and US should stop that embargo and MIami terrorists should stop it invading Cubans sovereignty!!!!

      August 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roxana Redondo

      Luca, I am assuming by your post you do not live in Cuba. But hey, if hunger, oppression, inhumane prison conditions and violations of Human Rights are your thing, by all means move there.

      August 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dejavu

      but you are in the States right?, poor stupied!!

      August 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ernecar

    CNN = Castro Network News

    August 7, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • SylarDX

      Really/ Why are you here if you dislike CNN? I thought all the extremists were at ? I guess you got lost.

      August 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ogden Dunes

      FOX=Fascist Old Xenophobes

      August 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Oh brother. Fox News also ran this story. I suppose they are "Fidel News Channel", eh? This is so clever, isn't it? Now, your turn. Let's continue this fun-filled exercise, OK? Such fun.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim From Texas

    @Cuban Alex,

    Do tell,
    From what I have seen Fidel Castro had the best interest of his people. Universal Medicical care, Universal Education. The highest literqacy rate. Usually the people persecuted, or protesting are legacy from the Batista Dictatorship. The hardships in Cuba were largely artifical stemming from the U.S. embargo. When Fidel Castro did come to power he immediatly requested relations with the U.S. and was rebuffed by none other than R.M. Nixon.

    History is amazing, A little reading, and less passive absorbtion would benefit everyone!

    August 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ogden Dunes

      Exactly. Agree with our foreign policy and you are a friend of democracy. Disagree and you are an evil despot. Saddam was friend in the eighties while brutalizing a nation, but Fidel was kept from even getting medicines and food for the nation he was trying ti bring out of colonial poverty and despotism. Viva Fidel.

      August 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • BrassTacks

      Jim – have you ever been to Cuba and seen the absolute poverty that the people live in and the food stamps they have to use to buy simple things like bread? Have you felt the fear in their voices when they talk about Castro and the gov't in whispered voices from inside their "own" homes? Maybe you need to travel there so you can really understand how much, or how little Castro has really done for the people of Cuba. Honestly, the continued suppression of the Cuban people is and has been Castro's MO for decades. Take away everything from the people so they are dependent on the gov't for everything including daily substenance. Take a trip there Jim and then let's see what you write.

      August 7, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suad

      Its "sustenance" not "substenence". Perhaps Cubas universal education would do you some good.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelley

      You're leaving out the fact that while starting the revolution Castro lied to everyone by claiming a return to democracy ... only to bring the hammer down on his people with the likes of communism. And yes, they do have free health care and education ... but to what end. A heart surgeon makes the same money as a janitor. You are forced to work the fields each month no matter what your job status is. Communism is a wonderful idea in theory. The problem is it is only human nature to want to better yourself ... communism gives no incentive to do so. Lastly, if you feel it's so great under Castro why don't you go live there? Put your money where your mouth is!!

      August 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Brass, have you ever been in any area of poverty? Look around you in the United States... and if you want a better glimpse hop a ride one of the US's insular areas.. there's poverty every where you go..

      (I'm in no way of course defending castro, it's just a weak argument... poverty is part of social structure. )

      August 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelley

      @suad You my friend should get a life. No ... better yet you should just go away!!

      August 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelley

      @Andrew The difference is at least here you can improve your station in life if you have the drive. All of Cuba is a slum with the exception of the resort areas which the locals are not allowed into. I would love to hear your argument when this regime finally collapses and you see how the people of Cuba respond. I don't think you'll see to many tears for good old Castro.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • JamesC

      Jim, Everything you wrote is absolutely correct. By the way, I went to Havana last year and things are indeed tough but the spirit of the people is fantastic. We are doing a terrible injustice to Cuba's people by allowing the loony Cuban exiles to dictate policy. The embargo is a Human Rights violation and everyone but Israel is against it 100%. Every vote in the UN has been against the embargo. We are hypocrites on this issue for sure.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roxana Redondo

      dear Jim and all others who are pro-Castro pls understand you have had to live in Cuba, leave in exile, leave your family, your country to understand the suffering that Castro has caused millions. Castro is a modern day Hilter. Period. To praise him is really behind the pale.

      August 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SylarDX

    Fidel is a very misguided man. I pray for the people who are under his rule, the sooner he is gone or changes his ways.... the better they will be off.

    August 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JamesC

      And when the people decide to retain the revolution will you still want your US government to brutalize the nation with the embargo. It is illegal and unethical and there is no justification for it.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Daysi

    To anyone who says "viva Fidel" why don't you try living there. Most of my family does and they would certainly give you a few stories. He lacks for nothing while "his people" mi gente, struggle ro put food on the table. While I'm not sure I agree with this long standing embargo I know Cuba would be better of with the Castros.....

    August 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fidelio

    Viva Fidel, but stop letting those people leave and come here.

    August 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. h4x354x0r

    The US embargo is the only thing that's kept Cuba going the way it has. If we opened up trade relations and allowed unrestricted travel to Cuba, our economy and culture would completely overrun the place in a matter of years.

    August 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jordan

    No, The US embargo has been a tremendous burden to the Cuban economy by preventing trade with the U.S. and hamstringing trade with other nations. Cuba does not want the embargo. And the travel restrictions? Those are entirely up to the U.S. They need to be renewed every few years. Carter let them lapse; Reagan brought them back. Look up the Muriel Boat Lift incident, for example.

    August 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    The failures of El Supremo is blamed on the U.S policy towards Cuba. The fact is, the Soviet Union was dealing with Cuba all along and no one stopped China, North Korea or any other communist states from trading with Castro.
    I guess if you don't trade with capitalistic nations, you cannot succeed. Castro should have figured that out long ago by observing the failures of all the old communist regimes.
    Castro was and is a failure but it takes a special person to admit to that, unfortunately he is not special. He is not paying the penalty, his people are.
    Dictators and self centred leaders have a very short life span in the history books, not worry, in his case he keeps writing his own book.

    August 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Monica

    To Jim from Texas and others still misguided by the decades-old idea of universal education and medical care for Cubans, those days appear to be history. Having had a recent up close view of the country, it is clear that only a fraction of high school students will move on to university with the majority forced into technical training (not the equivalent of an Associates Degree either), the military or government work. As for health care, the mind-boggling and rather exhaustive exercise of trying to see a physician, much less acquiring medicine or other some sort of treatment for a medical matter is an exercise in patience we will never know in the U.S.

    What started out as as a great idea five decades ago gradually appears to have slipped into a crumbling society where most – the majority of the people – struggle to feed themselves and their families each week. Their monthly income from the government doesn't begin to cover the necessities much less allow people to advance their lives in any positive way. It is heartbreaking to see an entire country and its people suffer so much at the hands of just a few.

    You would never consider the hardships of the country based on the embargo if you had the opportunity to spend time in Havana and other parts of Cuba. You'd see it for what it is – an experiment born 50 years ago that has failed miserably and that has left an entire country in shambles. Those who suffer and protest have nothing to do with the former dictator.
    It's a tribute to the people of Cuba and their ability to persevere despite the challenge they face each day, much less for years.
    Hopefully a different way will come sooner than later.

    August 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vinicius

      "the majority of the people – struggle to feed themselves and their families each week". Well, thanks God it only happens in Cuba. In this case, the problem was obviously Fidel.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. capnmike

    Fidel Castro is dead. He died 3 years ago. This guy is a double.

    August 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. @lucio_almeida

    Cube may not be that good... But how would it be if it wasn't for Castro? I mean, they have nothing to offer, when it comes to products and exports (except for cigars, maybe). They were damned to be one of the worst pieces of land in the world. At least they have stuff to eat, schools, hospitals... the basic to survive with dignity.

    August 7, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      @lucio_almeida – It's amazing how many people love to post their opinions and not know the first thing of Cuba and Castro, and for that matter, liberty.

      Before Castro, Cuba was the most prosperous country in Latin America. Some say that may not mean much, but the fact is the quality of life was similar to the United States. Cuba's peso attained the value of the dollar before most other first world countries. TV's were common in every household, even more so than in Europe. And exports were rich... not only in cigars as Lucio's only example, but in sugar and many agricultural products. Industry was strong... Coca Cola and Hershey's had major industrial complexes on the island, and General Electric, Fords and Chevrolets were common brands.

      And no, they weren't damned as ones of worst pieces of land! Really? Are people this ignorant? Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, which means it has the most coast line amongst the Caribbean nations. More coast lines mean more beaches. And many publications consider it's beaches the most beautiful in the world. In fact, it's a beautiful country with rich, fertile valleys and flowing rivers... it's like Hawaii but with salsa beats.

      And regarding "stuff to eat, schools and hospitals"... this is what many of the people who don't want to see the truth turn a blind eye. The people who eat do so because they barter in the black markets. The government gives out rice and bread... they seldom give out eggs... they cut kids off of their daily ration of milk at the age of 7 (because it's too expensive)... and meat... ha.. people don't eat meat there hardly ever.

      And hospitals... what a joke. Sure, it's free health care for the nation... you can go for free, they just can't treat you because they don't have supplies, like alcohol, needles or IV's. Just read and you'll find Cuba's hospitals just don't have supplies... if you go to a Cuban hospital (as a Cuban, not as a tourist) you must take your own supplies that you've purchased in the black market. So much for free health care.

      And schools? Well, this is one point that Lucio got right. They do have good schooling and Cubans have the highest literacy rates in all of Latin America and most first world countries. But what good is having such an education when there are no jobs? Most taxi drivers in Cuba are doctors, lawyers and engineers. And when you ask them why, they always say something along the lines of "if you want to eat in this country, driving taxis is what will make you the money".

      As for all the others who defend Castro and his ways and blame the United States for all of Cuba's problems... I say to you this:
      Your double standard is obvious to all who love freedom. There are not two sides to this argument. When the oppression of people is involved, the only right side of the argument is the one of freedom. Cuba's problems are not because of the U.S. Cuba's problems are because of Castro. Cuba's problems exist because a man who began a revolution under the disguise of democratic freedom, turned into an egotistical hunger for power.

      And for the Americans on this forum who have defended Castro and his ways and blame Cuba's troubles on the embargo or our foreign policy or whatever excuse of the day you have, shame on you! Our country is the best country in the world because it is a place governed by laws that enable the free will of man... and allow us to pursue our dreams, unhindered by government or oppressive regimes. Our country may have it's flaws, just like people do, but there is no doubt... our country is the greatest. Suck on that, America haters...

      August 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PARROT

    VIVA FIDEL....!!!....VIVA FIDEL...!!

    August 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dejavu

      YOU HAVE TO BE A LOOSER AND paid by the dictator, if not you are so ignorant, feel sorry for you bro!!, basura!!

      August 10, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vinicius

    It's funny, the most of the people who call Fidel names, who scold and curse him, are the same who voted for G.W. Bush and supported his indecent "war on terror". These are the same people who believe U.S. can invade any country they want, at any time they want, to impose their culture. These are the same people who believe U.S is the land of freedom and oportunities, and think the rest of the world should get down on their knees. Fidel made mistakes, ok, but, as Jim said, he had the best interest of his people. Unlike Bush and the most of americans politicians.

    August 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelley

      Castro had the best interest of himself in mind. And don't generalize about what "most" of the people did with regard to Bush. Makes you sound ignorant. Don't forget, Castro is atheist ... I guess if you don't believe you are going to have to answer to a "Higher Authority" in the next life there really is no incentive for someone like Castro to do the right thing by his people. Lastly, if you would quit doing your drugs and get off of welfare, you would find out that there really are opportunities in this country. But wait ... that's why you prefer communism ... you don't have to do anything to get a paycheck each month.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vinicius

      Firts of all, I dont'care about anyone's beliefs. I don't pretend my beliefs are better than any other else. But, If you believe in everything you said, well, I'm sorry, but you should take a look around the world, and try to realize the U.S. is not the paradise, and Cuba is not a hell. And that there are millions of people working real hard all over the world, looking for opportunities that neve come. It's not a problem with people, it's a problem of the social structure, that doesn´t guarantee opportunities for all.

      August 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JamesC

    Fidel was an incredibly brave and intelligent man who liberated his people from a brutal US backed dictatorship. It's hard to read the ignorance and misinformation on these pages. Fidel was never a ruthless dictator and every accusation on that level has been repudiated by the UN and other international bodies. If you don't like the man that's fine but don't dare place an illegal embargo on its citizens for 50 years and say your country is about freedom. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

    August 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
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