Saturday, November 26, 2016

Video Report - ‘Positive or negative, Castro’s impact can’t be underestimated’

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Documentary -Fidel Castro

Chinese react to Castro's death on social media

Chinese people reacted to the death of Fidel Castro on social media after news broke out that the former Cuban leader died at the age of 90 late Friday.

Castro is hailed by generations of Chinese people as an epitome of idealism and a warrior who fought against social injustice.

His well-known speeches such as "History will absolve me" have been circulating on line and people are talking about how he pitted himself against 11 US presidents in his life.

Castro had maintained close ties with China and the Chinese people who admire him.

"Castro is seen as a hero in China and his passing will be considered a great loss by many Chinese who knows the history and destiny that China and Cuba shared," said Hua Liming, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies and a former Chinese Ambassador to Iran and the UAE. 

China and Cuba bonded on similar ideologies and difficult times when the two countries faced enormous challenges from the West in the 1950s, Hua told the Global Times Saturday. 

"Both countries faced a lot of hostility and containment from the West, and Castro's reputation of leading such a small country against its gigantic neighbor is an inspiration for many not only in China but smaller countries as well," Hua said.

The reaction of Chinese citizens to the passing of Castro also reflects the challenges China and Cuba still face today from the West, according to Hua. 

"Though China has achieved great progress in economic development in recent decades, the West led by the US still views us with rose-colored eyes," Hua said, adding Cuba also faces a similar treatment, despite the fact that the US and Cuba recently normalized their diplomatic relations.

And as China and Cuba continue to face these challenges, "it is understandable that some people will miss someone like Castro, who can stand up to the West," Hua said.

Castro made his last state visit to China in 2003 as President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba. He held talks with then Chinese president Jiang Zemin and other leaders on bilateral ties, international and regional issues, following a grand welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People. 

President Xi Jinping met with Castro twice from 2011 to 2014.

During Xi's state visit to Cuba in 2014, the two had warm discussions. 

"You are deeply admired by the Cuban people and have also won the respect of the Chinese people. We will never forget the significant contributions you have made to bilateral relationships," Xi said during the talk.

Premier Li Keqiang met with Castro in September this year during his visit to the island nation. Li is the first Chinese premier to visit Cuba in more than five decades.

The meeting between Li and Castro was described by Cuban media as "brother-like" and the two leaders had an "earnest conversation" that covered the long-lasting relationship between China and Cuba and current international affairs.

Video Report -World leaders pay tribute to Fidel Castro

Video -Key events in Fidel Castro's leadership of Cuba

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President Obama Offers Cubans ‘Hand Of Friendship’ After Fidel Castro’s Death

President Barack Obama focused on healing U.S.-Cuban relations in a statement on the death of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said. “We know that this moment fills Cubans ― in Cuba and in the United States - with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”
“Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future,” he added. “As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
Obama restored the United States’ full diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015 after years of negotiation with the government of Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother and successor. Their efforts ended a decades-long period of estrangement that began shortly after the elder Castro seized power in 1959. 
In March, Obama became the first American president to visit Cuba in 88 years.
Obama alluded to the diplomatic breakthrough over which he presided in his remarks on Castro’s death.
“For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements,” Obama said.
“During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends - bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity,” he added. “This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.”

History, people to remember Castro: Chinese president

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday that history and people will remember Fidel Castro, calling the Cuban revolutionary leader "a great figure of our times."
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks in a message of condolences to Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, after Fidel Castro died late Friday at the age of 90.
"In the name of the CPC, the Chinese government and people, and in my own name, I express my deepest condolences on the death of Comrade Fidel Castro and sincerest sympathy to his family," Xi said.
Fidel Castro, founder of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuba's socialist cause, was a great leader of the Cuban people, Xi said, adding that he has made immortal historic contributions and devoted all his life to the Cuban people's great cause of struggling for national liberation, safeguarding state sovereignty and building socialism.
The late Cuban leader has also made immortal historic contributions to the world socialist development, Xi added.
Fidel Castro also dedicated his life to the friendship between China and Cuba, Xi said.
Xi added that the China-Cuba relationship has enjoyed great development since the two countries forged diplomatic ties 56 years ago thanks to Fidel Castro's solicitude and painstaking efforts.
"The death of Fidel Castro has made the Chinese people lose a close comrade and sincere friend. His glorious image and great achievements will go down in history," Xi said.
"The great Comrade Fidel Castro will be forever remembered," said the Chinese president.

Fidel's Legacy: 'Cubans Give Us Example of How to Develop and Live'

Fidel Castro's death will not bring an end to the Cuban Revolution, Russian academic Evgeny Astakhov told RIA Novosti, highlighting that by the term 'revolution' he means further development of the Cuban sovereign and independent state.

After Fidel Castro's passing away Havana will continue to pursue the policy course set by the iconic Cuban leader, Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) expert Evgeny Astakhov of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) told RIA Novosti. "If the 'revolution' implies an armed struggle, it ended long ago. If it implies the desire to make the peoples' life better, I believe this task still remain high on [Cuba's] agenda. Despite the normalization of relations between the United States [and Cuba], the goals of the revolution survived intact," Astakhov remarked. © SPUTNIK/ VASILY Fidel Castro Was 'Sincere Friend' of Russia, Remarkable Politician The expert called attention to the fact that living conditions of the Cubans remain rather low. However, he emphasized that the people of Cuba preserve their self-respect and dignity.

 "There are no beggars there," Astakhov underscored, "The people have a sense of pride and they face their poor living conditions with dignity." The expert highlighted that at the same time the Cubans can boast their healthcare, cancer treatment and biotechnology. "In many respects, they give us an example of how to develop and live," he noted. © AP PHOTO/ RAMON ESPINOSA Monroe Doctrine Ghosts: Why Washington's Soft Power Does Not Work in Cuba Commenting on Barack Obama's first visit to Havana in March 2016, Haitian-born journalist Dr. Dady Chery highlighted that despite the trade embargo the US had exerted on the Caribbean state, Cuba "is no longer a country without its own toilet paper or medications, but one that has painfully built its own economy." "Currently, Cuba holds more than 30 patents in the area of biotechnology, which is its main export. It manufactures more than 800 products for the health needs of Cubans, for whom it provides universal medical coverage," Chery underscored in her op-ed for News Junkie Post. 

The journalist added that against all odds the Cubans have developed their own software products, including computer games, cell-phone platforms, and specialized software for the health sector. © AFP 2016/ TOMMY WEBER Cuban Prime Secretary of the Cuban Communist party and President of the State Council Fidel Castro addresses delegates of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 26 September 1960 in New York "The revolution will continue," Astakhov said, "in 'spiritual' sense of the word, I do not mean armed struggle, barricades, 'maidans' and etc." "Not all people have such a sense of pride and sovereignty as the Cubans. There will be changes and reforms in the country and there will be new people which will follow the reform path. But these reforms will be aimed at improving the living conditions of the people, and not making them dependent on the dollar system," the Russian academic emphasized. 

 Russian Leaders Pay Tribute to Castro: 'Fidel Loved Russia and the Russian People' Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, the legendary Cuban revolutionary and one of the world's longest-serving leaders, passed away on Friday at the age of 90. His death was announced by his brother and the incumbent Cuban president, Raul Castro. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the people and government of Cuba. "The name of this outstanding statesman is considered to be a symbol of an entire era in the modern history of the world. A free and independent Cuba built by him and his colleagues became an influential member of the international community and has served as an inspiring example for many countries and peoples," Putin said in his statement. "This strong and wise man always looked to the future with confidence. He personified the high ideals of a politician, citizen and patriot, sincerely believing in the righteousness of what he did and to which he devoted his entire life. His memory will forever remain within the hearts of Russian citizens," the Russian President emphasized. 

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Fidel Castro's lasting legacy

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro died Friday night at the age of 90. As the last prominent leader from the Cold War, his death is reminiscent of the vicissitudes of that era, triggering tons of comments on his legacy.

Fidel Castro gradually transferred power to his younger brother, Raul Castro, after a serious illness in 2006. Raúl Castro has been in power for many years, so Fidel Castro’s death will not impact Cuban politics.
Fidel Castro was a man of the 20th century, a witness of the ups and downs of the world of that era. He significantly influenced and reshaped Cuba, leaving a mark on Latin America. He was destined to have a divided public image.

For the Cuban people and even for the people of many Latin American countries, Fidel Castro is a revolutionary, a hero of national independence and an outstanding soldier pursuing freedom. The image of a soldier followed him all his life. He rebelled against his family background when he was a young man, then he fought the old world, leading the Cuban people to an armed struggle until they seized power and established a socialist system in the country. In his later years, he supported the country's move toward a market economy, realizing a soft landing for the country's economy and establishing a special position for Cuba in Latin America.

Because of his undertakings, Fidel Castro, for a long time, had been considered by the US as an archenemy. He was largely considered a dictator by the Western media. However, in the decades of sanctions by the US against Cuba, Fidel Castro adopted a flexible and pragmatic diplomatic approach, gaining broad sympathy and respect from Latin America and many other countries. He was a role model for Latin American countries for his unswerving pursuit of national independence and integrity. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many socialist countries went through a dramatic transformation. But Cuba remained stable and took the path of orderly reform. This shows the wisdom and determination of the Castro brothers.

So far, Latin America has been extensively influenced by socialism. Fidel Castro is a symbol in the continent. The US, no matter during the Cold War or in the post-Cold War era, constantly waged wars against small and weak countries across the world and subverted regimes of many countries. But it couldn’t do anything about Cuba. Decades of sanctions failed to smash the will of Cuban society. In the end, the Obama administration extended an olive branch to Cuba and restored diplomatic relations between the two countries. This reflects Fidel Castro's outstanding strategist.

As a small state, Cuba is not powerful enough to make waves worldwide. It is even hard for it to remain independent and be itself. But Cuba has managed to hold onto its path. For a long time, the Cuban government has put the well-being of its people as a priority of governance. The country is peaceful, much less infected by drug abuse and violent crimes rampant in many other Latin American countries. Its economy went through hard times after the break-up of the Soviet Union, but it managed to shift gears and implement reforms.

The Western propaganda machine has long demonized Fidel Castro. But Cuba under Fidel's leadership has never been a radical country. Its foreign policy has been largely moderate and open. The country has never wanted to make enemies and sour US-Cuba relations to a large extent were caused by the US.

Fidel Castro was an old friend of the Chinese people. Although Cuba and China were estranged for a time because of the Soviet Union, Castro had always been respectful to China’s achievements in socialist reform. He greatly contributed to the friendship of China and Cuba. He will be remembered by the Chinese people. May he rest in peace.

‘Symbol of an era’: World leaders pay tribute to father of Cuban revolution

World leaders pay tribute to the longtime Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, describing the comandante as an iconic figure of his time who fiercely resisted colonialism, the US blockade, and the country’s hardships.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his condolences to the Cuban government and people on Saturday. The Kremlin statement said Castro’s name “is a symbol of an entire era in modern history.”
“The free and independent Cuba built by him and his associates has become an influential member of the international community, and an inspiring example for many countries and peoples,” the statement said. It also underlined Castro’s personal determination to develop lasting relationships between Moscow and Havana.
“This man of strength and wisdom always looked straight into the future,” it stressed. “He represented the highest ideals of a politician, citizen, and patriot who firmly believed in his cause.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader who met Castro in person, told Interfax on Saturday he is “truly saddened that Fidel’s time is now over,” adding that “he will remain in our memories as an outstanding politician, a great personality, and a friend.”
He added that throughout the Castro era, Cuba became a developed country which “makes a gigantic contribution to world affairs and strengthening cooperation across the globe.” Gorbachev refused to elaborate on the period of strained relations between the USSR and Cuba, saying instead that Fidel was largely upset with the failures of perestroika.
US President-elect Donald Trump has called Castro “a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.”
“Fidel Castro’s legacy is of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty, and the denial of fundamental human rights,” he said in a statement.
With Castro gone, Trump promised that his “administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey towards prosperity and liberty.”
During his campaign, Trump warned that if elected, he will reverse President Barack Obama's historic rapprochement between Havana and Washington.
Obama, on his part, said that “history will record and judge the enormous impact” of Fidel Castro “on the people and world around him.”
“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” a statement released by the White House said.
“Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people,” the outgoing president stressed, adding that Cubans should remember that “they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
Indian Premier Narendra Modi conveyed his condolences on the passing of Castro, writing on Twitter that the Cuban leader has been “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century” and “a great friend.”
Chinese leader Xi Jinping issued a statement read out on television late Saturday, following the death of Castro.
“The Chinese people have lost a good and true friend,” said the Chinese premier, cited by state TV. “Comrade Castro will live forever.”
In turn, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised Castro's efforts to modernize Cuba despite Washington's pressure. He contributed to the creation of a nation that focused on healthcare and education amid the unfair economic blockade from the US, Abe said.
Latin American leaders have been among the first to mourn the death of the comandante. Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, a country with close and lasting ties to Cuba, said that “all the revolutionaries of the world” must carry on with Fidel’s legacy.
“To all the revolutionaries of the world, we have to continue his legacy and his flag of independence, of socialism, of homeland,” he tweeted. “Sixty years after the departure of ‘Granma’ from Mexico, Fidel is now going to immortality of those who struggle throughout their lifetime.”
Enrique Pena Nieto, president of Mexico, said he laments “the passing of Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban revolution and emblem of the 20th century.” The Cuban statesman “was a friend of Mexico, promoter of a bilateral relationship based on respect, dialogue and solidarity,” he said.
European leaders have issued more measured statements on the death of Castro.
“A figure of great historic importance has gone, a man who brought about a turning point in the country’s evolution and whose great influence was felt across the region,” said the Spanish Foreign Ministry, adding he was linked to Spain “by ties of blood and culture.”
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said with the passing of Castro “the world has lost a man who was a hero for many,” who “changed the course of his country and his influence reached far beyond.” The statement released later on Saturday added that “his legacy will be judged by history.”
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Twitter that Castro’s passing “marks the end of an era for Cuba and the start of a new one for Cuba's people.” 
French President Francois Hollande said Castro embodied the Cuban revolution and hope for the future, but also “the frustration that came afterwards.” Hollande’s statement asserted that he “gave the Cubans an opportunity to be proud of resisting the foreign hegemony,” adding that Paris has always criticized the US economic blockade.
Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma has hailed Castro for his help and support in the struggle against the apartheid regime.
“President Castro identified with our struggle against apartheid. He inspired the Cuban people to join us in our own struggle against apartheid,” Zuma said.