Without naming US President-elect Barack Obama, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro cast doubt on Friday on the possibility that a new president would bring much change in US policy.
In an obtusely worded column published on the Internet, Castro said "many dream that with the simple change of command in the leadership of the empire, it will be more tolerant and less bellicose."
"The most intimate thoughts of the citizen who will take the helm are not yet known," he wrote.
But, he went on, "It would highly na ve to believe that the good intentions of one intelligent person could change what centuries of interests and selfishness have created. Human history shows another thing."
Obama, who was elected Nov 4 and takes office on Jan. 20 as the first black to lead the United States, has raised hopes of better U.S.-Cuba relations by saying he would hold talks with the Cuban government and ease the 46-year-old US trade embargo against the Communist-led island.
Before the election, Castro praised Obama as intelligent and humanitarian in the columns that have become his primary form of public communication since undergoing intestinal surgery for an undisclosed ailment in July 2006.
Since Obama's victory, neither he nor his brother, President Raul Castro, had commented on the new leader, who will replace President George W Bush.
Fidel Castro ruled Cuba for 49 years after taking power in a 1959 revolution, but his brother replaced the ailing 82-year-old in February.
Fidel Castro has not been seen in public since shortly before his surgery, but looked thin and tired in a recent photo of his meeting with a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.