Castro uses 90th birthday to attack Obama

  • 14/08/2016
Fidel Castro (AAP)
Fidel Castro (AAP)

Fidel Castro has made a rare public appearance at his 90th birthday gala, after the leader of the 1959 revolution thanked fellow Cubans for their well wishes and lambasted his old foe the United States in a column carried by state-run media.

Cuba went into overdrive this month honouring the retired "El Comandante," who built a Communist-run state on the doorstep of the United States, surviving what it says were hundreds of assassination attempts along the way.

Thousands danced along Havana's seafront Malecon boulevard throughout the night from Friday to Saturday.

Mr Castro, who handed over power in 2008 to his younger brother Raul due to ill health, appeared later on Saturday for a birthday gala.

Increasingly frail, Mr Castro had last made an official appearance in April.

"I want to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and gifts I have received," Mr Castro wrote in the opinion piece.

Mr Castro reminisced about his youth and his father who died before the revolution.

"He suffered quite a bit," Mr Castro wrote. "Of his three male children, the second and third were absent and distant, both fulfilling their duty in revolutionary activities."

Even then, he wrote, he knew his brother should replace him if anything should happen to him, in particular if the United States succeeded in its attempts to kill him.

"I almost laughed about the Machiavellian plans of the US presidents," he wrote.

Mr Castro went on to blast Barack Obama for the US president's speech in May when he visited Hiroshima, site of the world's first atomic bombing at the end of World War Two.

"He lacked the words to ask for forgiveness for the killings of hundreds of thousands of people," Mr Castro wrote.

Many Cubans feel Fidel Castro is no longer in step with the times.

Raul Castro's most broadly feted accomplishment since taking power has been implementing a detente with the United States after a half century of confrontation.

The younger Castro also introduced market-style reforms to the state-dominated economy and increased personal freedoms.