HAVANA – After decades of hostilities, Fidel Castro gave tacit approval to his brother's move to reinstate diplomatic relations with the United States, which he has long criticized for adopting a "repugnant" and "filthy" capitalist system that drives its people from "crisis to crisis," because "it causes war, hypocrisy and competition."
Castro, 88, released a statement on the government run newspaper Granma Monday directed to the Federation of University Students. He noted that the first friendly greeting between the "political adversary" and Cuba happened during Nelson Mandela's funeral.
Mandela, Castro said, was a good friend of U.S. President Barack Obama, who announced the beginning of an effort to reinstate diplomatic relations with the Communist island Dec. 17. He referred to the ongoing diplomatic talks with wariness.
"I don't trust the policy of the United States, nor have I had an exchange with them," said Castro, who took power during his 1959 revolution and spent much of his 49 years in the presidency railing against the U.S.
FIDEL CASTRO'S STATEMENTS
He clarified that his mistrust doesn't mean that he is "rejecting a peaceful solution."
Earlier this month, U.S. and Cuba delegations met for two days to discuss immigration policy, the establishment of embassies in Washington, D.C., and Havana. The delegations disagreed on issues of human rights and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy allowing Cuban migrants to qualify for legal residency upon to arrival to U.S. land.
"Any peaceful or negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America that doesn't imply force or the use of force should be treated in accordance with international norms and principles," said Castro, who retired in 2008 due to poor health. His brother 83-year-old brother Raul Castro succeeded him.
In his statement in Spanish, Castro added that he "will always defend cooperation and friendship with all the peoples of the world, among them our political adversaries."
Castro noted that his brother acted with the approval of the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba. He also appeared to acknowledge the issue of human rights.
"The dangers that threaten humanity today have to make way to norms that are compatible with human dignity," he said. "No country is excluded from such rights."
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