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Fidel Castro Downplays Brother's Overtures Towards US

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro says U.S. President Barack Obama has "misinterpreted" statements made by his younger brother to suggest a thaw in relations between the two rivals.

In an essay published Tuesday on a government website, the older Castro says President Raul Castro's offer to hold discussions with the new U.S. administration was a show of bravery and "confidence in the principles of the revolution" that brought communist rule to the island in 1959.

During a speech last week at a summit of Latin American leftist leaders in Venezuela, Mr. Castro said Havana is prepared to discuss "everything" with Washington, including human rights and political prisoners. His remarks were in response to Mr. Obama's decision to relax restrictions on travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans.

Mr. Obama hailed his Cuban counterpart's gestures Sunday at the end of Summit of the Americas in Trinadad and Tobago. But he called on Cuba to make further moves, including releasing political prisoners and reducing fees on remittances by Cuban Americans to their relatives on the island.

Fidel Castro also dismissed those overtures in his essay, saying the U.S., and not Cuba, should be the one to make concessions.

The United States has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba since 1961.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.