Tributes continued to pour in today for the late former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, who died last night at age 90.
Opposition leader Mia Mottley hailed Castro as “one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century”, whose courage, principles and leadership contributed to the Caribbean’s presence on the world stage.
“Whatever view one may have of his ideological stance, the fact is under his leadership the Cuban people enjoyed unprecedented development in health and education.
“The fact is that Castro’s leadership on education and health gave millions of his people and his country a platform that defined him more than any single act as President. Many in the Americas have benefitted from this investment that he made,” Mottley said.
She also recalled Castro’s willingness to play a major role in the fight against colonialism and apartheid in Southern Africa, saying it and places him in the pantheon of those global leaders who helped in the liberation of oppressed people.
“I regard my meetings with him where I had the honour to sit next to him both at lunch in Barbados when he visited us to unveil the Cuban monument and participate Emancipation celebrations and dinner in Havana for the Iberian Ministers of culture as some of my most cherished memories in public life from which I learnt.
“His passion in recounting the challenges he experienced transcended the language barrier. Such was the force of his presence and personality,” Mottley stated.
Meanwhile Cuban Ambassador to Barbados, Francisco Fernandez Pena told Barbados TODAY that there is not a segment of society that has not been transformed by Castro’s thinking and his work.
This is a man of principle and that’s why not only the Cuban people believed in him but all the people around the world … working for a better world, supported him and believed in him.
“This is a man of dignity, of independence, of self-determination of sovereignty and at the same time, internationalism,” Pena said.
And to be internationalist is to save our actions with the humankind.
He added that the late Castro also encouraged people not to give up in the face of adversity, and to face difficulties no matter how big they are.