Fidel Castro was the most important political figure in Cuba from 1959 to 2006. In that time, Castro first held the position of Prime Minister (1959 – 1976) and, later, President (1977 – 2006).
However, many people would argue that a more appropriate title for Castro would be dictator. (A dictator is a political leader who holds unlimited power and does not allow opportunities for new governments to form, as may happen in an election).
In fact, Castro’s legacy has challenged many historians and political observers. To some, Castro holds a heroic position as a revolutionary leader who was able to overthrow the Cuban President Fulgencio Batista and resist the influence and pressure of America. On the other hand, many also see Castro as a ruthless leader whose treatment of the Cuban people, rules and restrictions created poverty and poor living conditions throughout the country.
For this reason, many politicians made a variety of responses to the news of his death.
United States, President-Elect, Donald Trump tweeted, “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “With his death, the Chinese people have lost a close comrade and a sincere friend. His glorious image and great achievements will be recorded in history forever.”
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau said, “On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie [Trudeau’s wife] and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”
Following his remarks, Trudeau has faced considerable attention. Many political opponents have asked the Prime Minister to explain himself or to apologize for saying them in the first place. In an interview in Madagascar this weekend, he responded, “He certainly was a… figure [who many people have strong and different opinions about] and there certainly were significant concerns around human rights. That’s something that I’m open about and highlighted, but on the passing of his death I expressed a statement that highlighted the deep connection between the people of Canada and the people of Cuba.”