Castro was ‘a visionary who will be sadly missed’ - MLA

Fidel Castro at Shannon, Ireland, during a visit in 1982.

Fidel Castro at Shannon, Ireland, during a visit in 1982.

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Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said Fidel Castro was a visionary who will be sadly missed as he sent his condolences to the people of Cuba.

Fidel Alejandro Castro was at the helm of the Cuban Revolution and served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and later as President from 1976 to 2008.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and a Sinn F�in delegation on a  fact-finding visit to Cuba in 2009 when they met Government officials and visited medical centres there.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and a Sinn F�in delegation on a fact-finding visit to Cuba in 2009 when they met Government officials and visited medical centres there.

He passed away on Friday at the age of 90, and an official period of mourning has been announced in Cuba.

Mr McCartney said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the death of the revolutionary leader.

He said: “Fidel was a leader of one of the most important revolutions of the 20th Century.

“ His vision and lifetime of experience will be greatly missed as we continue to face the challenges of climate change, poverty, and globalisation.

“The ground breaking successes in healthcare and education that Fidel oversaw in Cuba which I saw on a visit in 2009, as well as Cuba’s internationalism, remains an inspiration to all of us who share a vision of an inclusive and fair world.”

Mr McCartney said the successes of that revolution are clearly evident today in the confidence and capabilities of the Cuban people.

“Cuba is still placed under an illegal, inhuman and crippling blockade by the USA. One can only imagine the advances the Cuban economy and society could have made had these barriers had been removed,” he said, adding:

“Fidel was a leader and a visionary. He was an internationalist and spoke for the poor and dispossessed. He took on the status quo, the comfortable elites, the bigots, the racists, and the apartheid apologists.

“I wish to extend my condolences, and the collective condolences of the membership of Derry Sinn Féin, to the Cuba Ambassador to Ireland at this sad time.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”