Psris (BSS/AFP) – The legacy of Cuba’s Fidel Castro elicited reactions Saturday from leaders and figures from around the world many of whom remembered him as a friend and ally, while exiles in Miami celebrated his death.
Here are some early responses to the passing of the 90-year-old Cold War icon, whose life was defined by his resistance to the capitalist United States.
– Donald Trump –
The US president-elect simply tweeted “Fidel Castro is dead!”
Back in September he commented on the historic rapprochement between the United States and Cuba threatening to reverse the executive orders “unless the Castro regime meets our demands,” which include “religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.”
– Vladimir Putin –
“The name of this distinguished statesman is rightly considered the symbol of an era in modern world history,” the Russian president said in a message to Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, cited by the Kremlin.
“Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.”
– Mikhail Gorbachev –
“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 the former Soviet leader as saying.
“In the past years, even when Fidel Castro was not formally in power, his role in strengthening the country was huge.”
– Xi Jinping –
China’s president hailed Castro in a message read out on state television: “The Chinese people have lost a good and true comrade.
“Comrade Castro will live forever.”
– Diego Maradona –
The Argentine football legend lamented Castro’s death saying “I’m terribly sad as he was like a second father.”
– Jacob Zuma –
The South African president gave one of the warmest tributes to the late Cuban leader.
“President Castro identified with our struggle against apartheid. He inspired the Cuban people to join us in our own struggle. As a way of paying homage to the memory of President Castro, the strong bonds of solidarity, cooperation and friendship that exist between South Africa and Cuba must be maintained and nurtured,” Zuma said.
– Francois Hollande –
Castro embodied Cuba’s revolution in both its “hopes” and its later “disappointments”, the French President said in a statement.
“An actor of the Cold War… he represented, for Cubans, pride in rejecting external domination,” Hollande added, alluding to Castro’s opposition to the United States.
– Nicolas Maduro –
The Venezuelan president, Cuba’s main ally in the region, said of Castro on Twitter: “It is up to us to continue his legacy and carry his flag of independence.”
– Ban Ki-moon –
The UN Secretary General said “At this time of national mourning, I offer the support of the United Nations to work alongside the people of the island.”
– Mariano Rajoy –
The Spanish prime minister sent his condolences to Cuba’s government and people, via Twitter, where he described Castro as “a figure of historic significance”.
– Narendra Modi –
India’s prime minister sent his “deepest condolences” to Cuba. “May his soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.
“Fidel Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.”
– Mohammad Javad Zarif –
Castro was “a unique figure who fought against colonialism and exploitation” and was “a model of the fight for independence by oppressed nations,” said Iran’s foreign minister, the Fars news agency reported.
– Rodrigo Duterte –
For the Philippines’ president, Castro distinguished himself by “standing up against the West and imperialism”.
– Communist Vietnam –
Vietnam’s official Communist news agency hailed Castro as “a great leader” who was “the shining reflection of the independence and revolutionary movements of countries in Latin America and around the world.”
– Celebrations in Miami –
Amid cries of “Cuba Libre!” and “Freedom! Freedom!” Cuban-Americans poured on to the streets.
“It’s sad that one finds joy in the death of a person — but that person should never have been born,” said Pablo Arencibia, 67, a teacher who fled Cuba 20 years ago.
A look at the life of Fidel Castro – (AP/UNB) – TITLES: Former president of Council of State and Council of Ministers, first secretary of Communist Party of Cuba, commander in chief of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces. Before resigning Feb. 19, 2008, he was the world’s longest-ruling head of government, and leader of one of world’s last five communist states. Had been off public stage for year and half after provisionally ceding power to his brother Raul following emergency intestinal surgery.
BIRTHDATE: Officially listed as Aug. 13, 1926, in Cuba’s Oriente province, although some say he was born a year later.
EDUCATION: Attended Roman Catholic schools and University of Havana, where he earned law and social science degrees.
BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: Launched his revolutionary fight with July 26, 1953, attack on military barracks in eastern city of Santiago. Was arrested, later freed under amnesty. Traveled to Mexico to form a rebel army, and returned to Cuba with followers aboard small yacht. Most were killed or captured, but Castro and a small group escaped into eastern mountain strongholds. Took power when dictator Fulgencio Batista fled New Year’s Day 1959.
AFTER THE REVOLUTION: Emerged as head of new government and quickly gained nearly absolute power. All American businesses eventually expropriated and Cuba was declared socialist state in April 1961, on eve of disastrous U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles. United States cut all trade with Cuba as island allied with Soviet Union, leading to October 1962 missile crisis that brought world to brink of nuclear war. For three decades, Cuba was Soviet ally and remained alienated from United States after communism collapsed in eastern Europe. The two countries began to move toward full diplomatic relations after a surprise announcement by President Barack Obama and Raul Castro on Dec. 17, 2014.
FAMILY: Married Mirta Diaz-Balart in 1948; son, Fidel Felix Castro Diaz-Balart, born in 1949; divorced in 1955. Although Castro never confirmed remarrying, reportedly wed former schoolteacher Dalia Soto del Valle and had five sons. Also reportedly had several other children out of wedlock.
QUOTE: “Homeland or death! Socialism or death! We shall overcome!”
Schoolgirl abducted by JL leader at gunpoint in Rajshahi
Dhaka – Miscreants abducted a teenage schoolgirl holding her family members hostage at gunpoint in Nurpur area of Taherpur municipality of Baghmara upazila of Rajshahi on Friday evening.
Victim’s father Jabbar Ali told local journalists that Sohel Rana, Jubo League general secretary of ward No. 7 of Taherpur municipality, had proposed to marry his daughter Pinky Khatun, a class X student of a local high school.
He said when they came to know about the matter, they turned down his proposal.
Agitated by their refusal, Jabbar alleged, Sohel along with Asadul Islam, acting president of Pouro unit Jubo League, Mizan, general secretary of 7 No ward Awami League went to Pinky’s house and picked up the girl holding her family members hostage at gunpoint.
They fled the scene firing blank shots. Shahin Dewan, in-charge of Taherpur Police outpost, said they are trying to rescue the girl. – UNB