I hereby extend deepest sympathy to the people, the Communist Party and the Government of Cuba on the passing of Fidel Castro, the leader of the most significant revolution in our hemisphere.
Fidel Castro led Cuba towards profound changes in conditions of great hostility. His country faced economic sabotage, the blockade being the greatest example of the economic war against Cuba. He had to contend with overt and covert military attacks and numerous assassination attempts, but survived them all.
Cuba under his leadership not only survived but made impressive achievements. The Cuban people are among the most literate in the world. The universal health care that the people enjoy is an achievement longed for by many. Today the Cuban people have one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.
But Fidel was more than just a leader of the Cuban people. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. His internationalism was profound. Even through the Cuban people had to make many sacrifices, Castro’s Cuba gave generously to the poor and oppressed the world over. Cuban doctors and educators have done tremendous humanitarian work in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Cuban soldiers spilled their blood for freedom in Southern Africa. It is that solidarity and support and at the invitation of the Angolan government Cuban soldiers contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa and led to freedom in Namibia, Angola and Mozambique.
Fidel Castro was also a profound thinker and champion of the oppressed. He led by the clarity of his views on important world issues, including the huge debt that the Third World was saddled with. Those efforts contributed to a change in policies that led to debt write-offs and debt forgiveness.
This giant, this larger than life figure is now no more. However, he will be mourned by working people and the oppressed the world over. Once more my deepest sympathy to all Cubans who loved and revered him.
His name and work will endure throughout the ages.