[JURIST] Former Cuban president Fidel Castro [BBC profile] on Thursday called [op-ed text, in Spanish] on US President Barack Obama [official website] to turn over control of the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] military base to Cuba once the detention facility there is closed. In an op-ed published in the online newspaper CubaDebate [media website], Castro wrote that continuing to hold the base would be a violation of international law. Castro scoffed at Obama's pledge to return the base to the country after it instituted a democratic government, and said the move should be made unconditionally. He also criticized the new administration's support of Israel [WH materials], suggesting that the United States' support for Israel's treatment of the Palestinians further illustrates the country's arrogance.
The tone of Castro's article departs from that which he used in a January 22 statement [text, in Spanish], when he expressed his approval of the new president, while maintaining caution in waiting to see how Obama would address the "insoluble antagonist contradictions of the system." Following Obama's executive order [text; JURIST report] last week that Guantanamo be closed, world leaders hailed the news [JURIST report], but Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Roque issued a call to the US to return Guantanamo completely to the Cuban people.