(Statement by Dr. The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
It is with a deep and heart-felt sadness that the Government and the People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines learnt of the news of the death, last night, November 25, 2016, of our dear friend and comrade, Commandante Fidel Castro Ruz, the former President of the Republic of Cuba.
Known to the people of Cuba and the world simply and affectionately as “Fidel”, this iconic revolutionary successfully led the political process to unshackle Cuba from a debilitating imperialism and he strove to establish a just and inclusive society in his people’s interest, free of exploitation. The Cuban people loved him; and, so, too, we in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Caribbean, Latin America, and indeed the world over.
For over 50 years Fidel led his people and others globally in a quest for a better world of justice, equality, and genuine freedom. Cuba’s internationalism and solidarity with the poor and oppressed people world-wide were manifestations of his humanity and nobility of spirit. We in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been beneficiaries of Fidel’s generosity and solidarity. In other countries, such as in racist Southern Africa, the Cubans under Fidel’s extraordinary leadership shed their blood, selflessly, to assist in the attainment of freedom and nationhood in Angola and South Africa especially.
Fidel was an extraordinary and towering political figure of immense historical and global significance. He stands alongside the 20th century titans in the struggle for people’s liberation such as V.I, Lenin, Mahatma Ghandi, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh, and Nelson Mandela. He was a magnificent son of Our America, Our Latin American and Caribbean civilisation.
Fidel was a warm and humorous person, a finished personality, full of a love for life and living. We will miss him dearly. My wife and I have lost a personal friend.
Earlier today (Saturday, November 26, 2016), I conveyed orally the condolences of the Government and People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the Government and People of Cuba and to Comrade Raul and Fidel’s family.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines will honour Fidel appropriately during this immediate period of mourning and thereafter.
May Fidel’s soul rest in peace. His ideas and example live on.
Farewell our dear friend and comrade.
Dated the 26th day of November 2016.