Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro hailed U.S. Senator Richard Lugar's proposal to reshape U.S.-Cuba relations and said the communist nation was not afraid of dialogue with Washington-and not interested in continued confrontation with its powerful neighbor, reports say.
His comments came as a seven-member U.S. lawmakers' delegation visited Cuba to try to end nearly half-a-century of mutual distrust and amid reports that President Barack Obama was planning to ease economic sanctions on the island, including travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans.
We're not afraid to talk with the United States. We also don't need confrontation to exist, like some fools like to think, Castro, 82, said Sunday in an article on a website. We exist precisely because we believe in our ideas, and we've never been afraid to talk with our adversary. It's the only way to achieve friendship and peace between people, he added.
Castro said the 47-year-old U.S. economic sanctions on his country was a total failure, and welcomed Indiana Senator Richard Lugar's recent proposal that the White House appoint a special envoy to review relations with Cuba to start direct conversations with Cuba on issues of common interest.
The former Cuban leader also called on Latin American countries to support an end to Havana's isolation when they meet the U.S. president at a regional summit, which opens in Trinidad and Tobago April 17. He said that the summit would be a trial by fire for the region and urged leaders to ensure that both Cuba's isolation and the U.S. trade embargo against it were on the agenda.
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