World reacts to Fidel Castro’s death

The passing of Cuban leader Fidel Castro has triggered an outpouring of both joy and grief around the world.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Cuban leader Fidel Castro was a tyrant for some but others he was an revolutionary hero.

Leaders, politicians, and public figures across the world reacted to the announcement of the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro by his younger brother and successor Raul Castro on state television.

Reactions were divided as the controversial leader was seen as a tyrant by some and hailed as a revolutionary hero by others.

"The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening (03:29 GMT Saturday)," Raul Castro said on Friday night.

Ending his words with a revolutionary motto, “Ever onward, to victory.”

After the announcement, the Cuban embassy in the US paid tribute to their leader via Twitter.

The first international reactions to the news came from Latin American leaders.

"I lament the death of Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban revolution and emblematic reference of the 20th Century," Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted.

"With deep sorrow we received news of the death of my dear friend and eternal companion, Commander Fidel Castro Ruz," El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren said.

In a tweet, the  President of Ecuador Rafael Correa said, “He was a great one. Fidel is dead. Long live Cuba! Long live Latin America!”

“To all the revolutionaries of the world, we have to continue his legacy and his flag of independence, of socialism, of homeland,” the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, said.

Another condolence came from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also expressed his deep sorrow via Twitter.  

French President Francois Hollande said in a statement that, “Fidel Castro was a figure of the 20th century. He incarnated the Cuban revolution, in the hopes that it aroused, then in the disillusionments it provoked."

"An actor in the Cold War, he was part of an era that ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. He succeeded in representing for Cubans the pride of rejecting external domination,” he added. 

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev hailed Fidel Castro for “strengthening” his nation, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

“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,” Gorbachev was quoted as saying.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Fidel Castro as the “symbol of an era,” the Kremlin's Press Service said on Saturday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to Cuba to celebrate the 90th birthday of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in December 2000. (AFP)

"He demonstrated high ideals of a politician, citizen and patriot, who is adamant in the right course, to which he sacrificed all his life," Putin said in a telegram to Cuban President Raul Castro.

"Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia. He made a huge input in establishment and development of the Russian-Cuban relations, close strategic partnership in all spheres."

South African President Jacob Zuma thanked Castro for his support in the struggle against apartheid.

South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela visited Cuba in 1991 to thank Fidel Castro and the Cuban people for their support in the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. (AP)

“President Castro identified with our struggle against apartheid. He inspired the Cuban people to join us in our own struggle against apartheid,” Zuma said in a statement.

Expat Cubans celebrate

The death of the revolutionary leader has not just evoked grief. Some leading public figures welcomed the news as exiled Cubans celebrated Castro’s death in Miami’s Little Havana.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior Republican representative for Florida, tweeted:

Cuban exile and representative from Florida's 26th congressional district Carlos Curbello tweeted:

“Only a few hours left until the first dawn of my life without Fidel Castro,” The Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez tweeted.

TRTWorld and agencies