President Obama chuckled as he recounted the anecdote of Cuban President Raúl Castro having a long list of “flaws in the American system” during his speech Tuesday in Havana, Cuba.
Obama reeled off the various issues Castro has with the United States and appeared to be in agreement with his Cuban counterpart, saying, “We do have too much money in American politics.”
“Now, there's no secret that our governments disagree on many of these issues,” Obama said. “I've had frank conversations with President Castro. For many years, he has pointed out the flaws in the American system. Economic inequality, the death penalty, racial discrimination, wars abroad. That's just a sample. He has a much longer list.”
Obama snickered and the crowd laughed.
“But here's what the Cuban people need to understand,” Obama said. “I welcome this open debate and dialogue. It's good. It's healthy. I'm not afraid of it. We do have too much money in American politics, but in America, it's still possible for somebody like me, a child who was raised by a single mom, a child of mixed race who did not have a lot of money, to pursue and achieve the highest office in the land. That's what's possible in America.”
Obama said Monday during a joint press conference on the communist island that he welcomed Castro's criticism.
“I actually welcome President Castro commenting on some of the areas where he feels that we’re falling short because I think we should not be immune or afraid of criticism or discussion,” Obama said.