Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has marked his 90th birthday by taking a sideswipe at US President Barack Obama.
Mr Castro, who stepped down as president in 2006 due to ill health and appointed his brother Raul in his place, also used the occasion to lambast America for its repeated attempts to assassinate him during Havana’s long Cold War stand-off with Washington.
Amid celebrations on the Communist island nation, including a massive seafront party and a record-breaking 90m cigar dedicated to the former military commander, Mr Castro criticised Mr Obama for failing to explicitly apologise for America’s decision to drop the atomic bomb during his historic visit to Hiroshima in Japan.
Mr Obama had apparently angered the former leader when he urged Cubans to look toward the future during a landmark trip to the country in March, which heralded a watershed moment in relations between the two nations.
Ignoring the move towards detente, Mr Castro said in an article published by official media: “The US President’s speech in Japan lacked the words to apologise for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima, even though they knew the effects of the bomb.”
He also branded “equally criminal” the bombing of Nagasaki three days later on 9 August, 1945.
“That’s why you have to stress the need to preserve peace and that no power has the right to kill millions of people,” said Mr Castro.
Recalling his own confrontation with America, he said: “I almost laughed at the Machiavellian plans of US presidents.”
Cuban intelligence services claim Mr Castro faced 634 plots between 1958 and 2000, with some reportedly involving poisoned or explosive cigars.
The botched CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 was followed by the Cuban missile crisis, which took the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Error: No connected account.
Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to connect an account.