Dominica praises former Cuban leader Fidel Castro

ROSEAU, Dominica, Nov 26, CMC – Dominica Saturday praised “our dear friend Comrade Fidel” for his contribution to the socio-economic development of the Caribbean island and said it hoped that the decades old trade embargo by the United States would be lifted in honour of the 90-year-old former Cuban leader.

President Raul Castro announced late Friday that his elder brother and leader of the Cuban revolution had died, eight years after stepping down. He said there will be several days of national mourning and that Havana will honour the wish of the former president that his body be cremated.

President Castro said the cremation will take place later on Saturday.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in an immediate reaction to the death, said flags will be flown here at half-mast on Monday until after the burial of leader, who for many years defied the isolation policies of the United States and sought closer relations with the Caribbean.

“It is very sad news to wake up too. Fidel to my mind was one of the better leaders we have had in the world. A most generous individual, helpful and every country in this world has benefitted from the benevolence of Fidel Castro,” Skerrit said on the state-owned DBS radio.

“He is going to be missed for his wisdom, his knowledge but I know that the Cuban revolution will continue with the strength and determination (and) to continue to provide sound leadership to the people of the Republic of Cuba.”

Skerrit said that Dominica is saddened by Castro’s death, saying that personally he had a “good relationship” with the former Cuban leader whom he considered to be “a mentor in many many respects.

‘So we are very saddened by his death and the Dominica society has been positively impacted by the contributions made by Fidel and the Cuban revolution and people over an extended period of time, whether it is education, agriculture. Health.

“The footprints of the Cuban revolution and the Cuban people and that of Fidel Castro are there for all of us to see,” Skerrit said, extending “our sincerest, sincerest condolences on the passing of our dear friend, Comrade Fidel”.

Skerrit said that he hoped that the trade embargo which the United States had placed on the Caribbean country when Castro and his small army of guerrillas overthrew the military leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959 to widespread popular, would now be removed.

He said the world has taken note of the improved relations between Washington and Havana and at the United Nations, for the first time, the United States abstained on a vote calling on it to remove the blockade.

“So we are hoping that in the near future that the US government will not only abstain but also the Helms Burton act would be removed entirely and allow the Cuban people to be fully part of the world’s financial system and world trading systems,” he added.