Raúl Castro gives Obama 'very emotional' apology
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Cuban President Raúl Castro on Saturday expressed remorse that President Obama had inherited the hostile relationship between Cuba and the U.S. during his time in office.
 
The Lebanon Daily Star reported that the communist leader apologized to Obama during the seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City. He also absolved the president of having any role in increasing tensions between the two nations during his remarks.
 
“I apologize to President Obama and the others here,” Castro told an assembly of South and North American leaders. 
 
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“I apologize to him because President Obama has no responsibility for this,” he continued, citing the standoff between Cuba and the U.S., which has lasted for over half a century.
 
Castro added his government perceives many past American leaders poorly for their treatment of the island nation. The foreign leader said he did not list Obama among their ranks.
 
“I have told President Obama that I get very emotional talking about the revolution,” Castro said.
 
“In my opinion, President Obama is an honest man,” he added.
 
President Obama declared diplomatic progress between the two nations a “turning point” for the region during his own remarks Saturday. He added that meeting Castro was a “historic occasion” for both countries.
 
“I’m not interested in having battles that frankly started before I was born,” Obama said. “The Cold War’s been over for a long time.”
 
Obama and Castro will meet Saturday evening in a monumental encounter. American and Cuban leaders have not had so direct a dialogue in more than 50 years.
 
The pair displayed their respect for one another by shaking hands at the summit late Friday evening. They also spoke on the phone Wednesday before traveling to Panama.
 
President Obama will soon decide whether Cuba will remain on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The agency formally requested he remove it from the blacklist on Wednesday evening.
 
State concluded its official review of Cuba’s status Thursday. It said Cuba has not supported terrorist acts during the last six months or more.
 
President Obama first announced he would normalize relations with Cuba late last December. His administration detailed eased restrictions on American trade and travel there January 15.