Leaders around the world pay tribute to the long-time Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, describing the commandant as an iconic figure of his time who fiercely resisted colonialism, the US blockade, and the country’s hardships.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his condolences to the Cuban government and people on Saturday. The Kremlin statement said Castro’s name “is a symbol of an entire era in modern history.”
“The free and independent Cuba built by him and his associates has become an influential member of the international community, and an inspiring example for many countries and peoples,” the statement said. It also underlined Castro’s personal determination to develop lasting relationships between Moscow and Havana.
“This man of strength and wisdom always looked straight into the future,” it stressed. “He represented the highest ideals of a politician, citizen, and patriot who firmly believed in his cause.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader who met Castro in person, told Interfax on Saturday he is “truly saddened that Fidel’s time is now over,” adding that “he will remain in our memories as an outstanding politician, a great personality, and a friend.”
He added that throughout the Castro era, Cuba became a developed country which “makes a gigantic contribution to world affairs and strengthening cooperation across the globe.” Gorbachev refused to elaborate on the period of strained relations between the USSR and Cuba, saying instead that Fidel was largely upset with the failures of perestroika.
Indian Premier Narendra Modi conveyed his condolences on the passing of Castro, writing on Twitter that the Cuban leader has been “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century” and “a great friend.”
Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, a country with close and lasting ties to Cuba, said that “all the revolutionaries of the world” must carry on with Fidel’s legacy.
“To all the revolutionaries of the world, we have to continue his legacy and his flag of independence, of socialism, of homeland,” he tweeted. “Sixty years after the departure of ‘Granma’ from Mexico, Fidel is now going to immortality of those who struggle throughout their lifetime.”
Enrique Pena Nieto
Enrique Pena Nieto, president of Mexico, said he laments “the passing of Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban revolution and emblem of the 20th century.” The Cuban statesman “was a friend of Mexico, promoter of a bilateral relationship based on respect, dialogue and solidarity,” he said.
Spanish Foreign Ministry
“A figure of great historic importance has gone, a man who brought about a turning point in the country’s evolution and whose great influence was felt across the region,” said the Spanish Foreign Ministry, adding he was linked to Spain “by ties of blood and culture.”
French President Francois Hollande said Castro embodied the Cuban revolution and hope for the future, but also “the frustration that came afterwards.” Hollande’s statement asserted that he “gave the Cubans an opportunity to be proud of resisting the foreign hegemony,” adding that Paris has always criticized the US economic blockade.
Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma has hailed Castro for his help and support in the struggle against the apartheid regime.
“President Castro identified with our struggle against apartheid. He inspired the Cuban people to join us in our own struggle against apartheid,” Zuma said.