World leaders condole death of Fidel Castro
Havana, Nov 26 (IANS) Several world leaders have condoled the death of iconic Cuban revolutionary and former President Fidel Castro, with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev hailing Castro for “strengthening” his island nation despite the US blockade.
Gorbachev, who was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, when the party was dissolved, said in a message: “Fidel stood up and strengthened his country during the harshest American blockade, when there was colossal pressure on him and he still took his country out of this blockade to a path of independent development,” Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
He added that Castro would be remembered as a “prominent politician” who managed to leave a “deep mark in the history of mankind.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his condolence message, said “India mourns the loss of a great friend.”
“I extend my deepest condolences to the government and the people of Cuba on the sad demise of Fidel Castro. May his soul rest in peace,” Modi said in a tweet.
“We stand in support with the Cuban government and the people in this tragic hour. Fidel Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend,” he said.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee condoled the death of “friend of India” Fidel Castro.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter: “I lament the death of Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban revolution and emblematic reference of the 20th Century… Fidel Castro was a friend of Mexico, a promoter of a bilateral relationship based in respect, dialogue, and solidarity.”
NicolÃ¡s Maduro, the Venezuelan President, fired off a tweet storm. He wrote, “To all the revolutionaries of the world, we have to continue with his legacy and his flag of independence, of socialism, of homeland.”
Maduro continued, saying: “He made history together with the peoples of the world to signal a way of dignity….”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement saying: “It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.
“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation”.
UK former Labour trade minister Brian Wilson said in a statement to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Castro had sent out a “beacon of hope” to Latin America.
“He educated his people and he gave them healthcare they had never had before, and you can admire all of that without being an uncritical supporter, believe me, but do not lose the bigger picture – that Fidel Castro, for his region and for oppressed people throughout the world, sent out a message of hope.”
Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party chief and former cricketer, tweeted: “Today the world lost an iconic revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who liberated his nation from all vestiges of imperialism. Castro reasserted the Cuban nation’s dignity & self worth that withstood US aggression & became a global ldr for anti colonial struggles…We in Pakistan will always remember with gratitude Cuba’s support on the ground in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake.”
As soon as Fidel’s death was announced, celebrations broke out in Little Havana, the Miami neighbourhood home to many Cubans in exile in the United States.
The revolutionary icon, one of the world’s best known and most controversial leaders, survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal after fighting a long battle with illness.
Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century before handing over the reins to his brother Raul in 2008.