Cuba's Fidel Castro is criticizing President Barack Obama's stepped-up U.S. war in Afghanistan while backing Obama's effort to provide health care coverage for all Americans.
The former Cuban president said in an essay published Tuesday that he hasn't the slightest doubt that "the racist right" will do anything to stop Obama from succeeding domestically.
Castro's remarks appeared on the Cubadebate Web site, which publishes his frequent essays on global affairs. He formally stepped down as Cuba's president in February 2008 after ceding power to his brother Raul.
"The strategy of withdrawing troops from Iraq and sending them to the war in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban is a mistake. The Soviet Union sank there," wrote Castro, who was a close ally of the Soviets at the time.
"The United States' European allies are more and more unwilling to spilling the blood of their soldiers in that country."
Even so, Castro said he has read "with astonishment" news reports on U.S. public opinion polls suggesting a decline in Obama's performance ratings.
Obama, he said, "didn't want to, nor could he change the system. What's odd is that, despite this, the extreme right hates him for being African American and fights what the president does to improve the deteriorated image of that country."
Castro cited Obama's efforts on health care, reviving the economy, closing tax havens, immigration reform and climate change.
"Obama has inherited those problems from (President George W.) Bush," he wrote. "I don't harbor the least doubt that the racist right will do everything possible to wear him down, blocking his agenda to take him out of the game one way or another," he added.
"I hope I'm wrong!"