Raila Odinga mourns Fidel Castro


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Opposition leader Raila Odinga

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has eulogized former Cuban President Fidel Castro as “one of the most outstanding personalities of the 20th century”.

Castro died aged 90 at 3:29 GMT (6:29am EAT) Saturday, November 26, President Raul Castro said.

President Raul informed the nation of Fidel Castro’s death in an unexpected late night broadcast, saying that the former leader of the Communist revolution would be cremated later on Saturday.

“In many ways, Castro was a great friend and true friend of Africa and other parts of the world that had to fight long and bitter wars to attain freedom from colonialism,” said Raila Odinga in a statement to newsroom.

“Castro stood very firmly on the side of Africans who were fighting for the continent’s liberation from colonialism especially in Congo (now DRC), Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. In the case of Apartheid South Africa, Castro was one of the very few voices to speak against that system that was founded on a false sense of racial superiority with dire economic consequences for black people,” added Odinga.

The Opposition chief further eulogized the late Castro as a leader who had the welfare of Cuban people at heart, saying he (Castro) invested heavily in social and healthcare programs.

“His investment in sciences saw Cuba make medical advances to become one of the leading nations in the search for cures for diseases like blood pressure, sickle cell anemia and HIV/ Aids. Castro was therefore a source of inspiration and courage for all those who value and fought for freedom.

“I send heartfelt and deep condolences to his family and to the people of Cuba,” concluded Odinga in his statement.

Odinga’s eulogy of Castro echoes that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also called the former Cuban head of state “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century”.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Castro was a “great friend” of Mexico.

Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost 50 years before Raul took over in 2008.

His supporters said he had given Cuba back to the people, but he was also accused of suppressing Opposition.

Castro – who had survived many assassination plots – was the longest serving non-royal leader of the 20th Century.

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