I won’t be doing this kind of post often. This isn’t even related to South Asia at all except that I’m starting the list with South Asian leaders, but I’m posting it because I was annoyed at how bad the media is at doing this extremely simple job. I couldn’t find a single complete list of immediate reactions of foreign leaders to the death of Castro. They all exclude some major leaders, chop up the quotes, or even make comical errors like this ABC article
which refers to “Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president of India…” So here I’m presenting all the quotes I could find from all world leaders on this topic in as complete a manner as possible. If you find an error or one I missed, add it in the comments and I’ll edit the post.
Reactions to Fidel Castro’s death from Narendra Modi, Maithripala Sirisena, Imran Khan, Vladimir Putin, Dmitri Medvedev, Michael Gorbachev, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Justin Trudeau, Xi Jinping, Bashar Al Assad, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Pope Francis, Rafael Correa, Enrique Peña Nieto, Nicolás Maduro, Salvador Sánchez, Michelle Bachelet, Michael Higgins, Alexis Tsipras, Francois Hollande, Seyed Ali Khamenei, Jean-Claude Junker and Ban Ki-moon:
Fidel Castro and Indira Gandhi. Image Source: India.com
“Fidel Castro was one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.” “
“I extend my deepest condolences to the Government & people of Cuba on the sad demise of Fidel Castro. May his soul rest in peace.”
We stand in support with the Cuban Government and people in this tragic hour.”
(And President Pranab Mukherjee also said: Heartfelt condolences on sad demise of Cuba’s revolutionary leader, former President & friend of India, Fidel Castro)
Maithripala Sirisena (Sri Lanka):
“The iconic leader of an era of revolution bids farewell to the world. Rest in peace, Comrade Fidel Castro.”
“Today the world lost an iconic revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who liberated his nation from all vestiges of imperialism.” “Castro reasserted the Cuban nation’s dignity & self worth that withstood US aggression & became a global ldr for anti colonial struggles: :We in Pakistan will always remember with gratitude Cuba’s support on the ground in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake.”
Vladimir Putin (Russia):
“Dear Comrade Raul Castro, dear friend,
I express to you and to all the Cuban people our deepest condolences on the death of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, your brother.
The name of this outstanding statesman is considered to be a symbol of an era in the modern history of the world. Built by him and his colleagues a free and independent Cuba became an influential member of the international community and has served as an inspiring example for many countries and peoples.
Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia. He made an enormous contribution to the formation and development of Russian-Cuban relations, close strategic cooperation in all fields.
This strong and wise man always looked with confidence to the future. He embodies the highest ideals of politics, citizen and patriot, sincerely convinced of the rightness of the case, which gave his whole life. The memory of him will live forever in the hearts of Russian citizens.
In this mournful hour I ask to convey the words of compassion and support to all members of your family. I wish you courage and perseverance in the face of this irreparable loss.”
(And Medvedev said: Fidel Castro lived a long and eventful life filled with challenges. He was not just a politician or an official. He was first and foremost an outstanding individual, a leader. Friendly allied relations between Russia and Cuba were built thanks to his personal involvement. We last spoke on the telephone in August, when Fidel Castro celebrated his 90th birthday. A man with an avid interest in global developments and events in Russia, he had a sharp intellect until his last moment and held a huge amount of information in his mind. Without exaggeration, a whole era of history is gone with Fidel Castro. I will treasure memories of my meetings with this remarkable man. My deepest condolences to his family and friends, and the whole Cuban nation.
And Gorbachev said: Fidel stood up for and strengthened his country at the time of the toughest American blockade, at a time of colossal pressure on him, and all the same he led his county out of that blockade onto the road of independent development)
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.
While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”
“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. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. 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. 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.
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. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”
(Jimmy Carter also said: Rosalynn and I share our sympathies with the Castro family and the Cuban people on the death of Fidel Castro. We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country. We wish the Cuban citizens peace and prosperity in the years ahead.)
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.
Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.
While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.
I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.
On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie 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.”
“BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) — 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.”
“Under the rule of Fidel Castro Cuba, which we consider as a friendly country, managed to withstand tough sanctions and the most unjust treatment in the modern history. He was a role model for the next generation of Latin American countries’ liberators as well as for the whole world. His name will live further in the minds of descendants, encouraging nations, which are striving for a genuine independence and freedom from the burdens of colonialism and hegemony.”
“Fidel Castro’s death marks the end of an era for Cuba & the start of a new one for Cuba’s people”
“Fidel Castro was a massive figure in the history of the whole planet, ever since the revolution in 1959…He managed to bring good quality health services to all the people of Cuba, good quality education to all the people of Cuba and, of course, he had a foreign policy which was global, but particularly important in Southern Africa in supporting Angola against the apartheid regime…History will show that Fidel was somebody who stood up for something very, very different in the Caribbean and many independent people would say how good health care and education are in Cuba compared to many other places in the world.”
“Upon receiving the sad news of the passing of your beloved brother, the honorable Fidel Castro Ruz, former president of the state council and the government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sadness to your excellency and all family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as the government and the people in that beloved nation. At the same time, I offer my prayers for his eternal rest, and I entrust the Cuban people to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of La Caridad del Cobre, patroness of that country.”
“He was a big one. Fidel dead. Long live Cuba! Long Live Latin America!”
Enrique Peña Nieto (Mexico):
“I lament the death of Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban revolution and emblematic reference of the 20th century.”
Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela):
“To all the revolutionaries of the world, we have to continue with his legacy and his flag of independence, of socialism, of homeland.
“He made history together with the peoples of the world to signal a way of dignity…Great history with the principles of Bolivar and Martí,” and “Fidel and Chávez constructed el ALBA [the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America], PetroCaribe and left the path of liberation of our peoples…the history absolved.”
“I just talked with President Raul Castro to send the solidarity and love to the people of Cuba before the passing of Commander Fidel Castro.”
Salvador Sánchez (El Salvador):
“With deep pain we receive the news of the death of dear friend and eternal companion, Commander Fidel Castro Ruz…Fidel always lived in the hearts of the people of solidarity who fight for justice, dignity and fraternity…Our condolences and solidarity with the brother government and people of Cuba.
Michelle Bachelet (Chile):
“My condolences to the President Raul Castro by the death of Fidel, a leader by the dignity and the justice social in Cuba and America Latina.”
Michael Higgins (Ireland):
“Fidel Castro will be remembered as a giant among global leaders.”
“Fidel Castro sealed the world history with the struggles for freedom and independence of the people of Cuba…Laid the foundations for regional cooperation in Latin America. Deepest sympathy to the Government and the people of the Bucket.”
Francois Hollande (France):
“Fidel Castro was a major figure of the XXth century. He embodied the Cuban revolution, in the hopes it aroused and the disappointments it provoked. Actor of the Cold War, he represented a period of history that ended with the fall of the Soviet Union. He represented, for Cubans, pride in rejecting external domination.”
Seyed Ali Khamenei (Iran):
“I extensively talked with Fidel Castro in person, it is his personality to believe and rely on people”
Jean-Claude Junker (European Union):
“Fidel Castro was one of the historic figures of the past century and the embodiment of the Cuban Revolution,” he said. “With the death of Fidel Castro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many. He changed the course of his country and his influence reached far beyond. Fidel Castro remains one of the revolutionary figures of the 20th century. His legacy will be judged by history. I convey my condolences to the Cuban President Raúl Castro and his family and to the people of Cuba.”
Ban Ki-moon (UN): “At this time of national mourning, I offer the support of the United Nations to work alongside the people of the island. Under former President Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education literacy and health. I hope that Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform and greater prosperity. He left a major imprint on his country and on global politics. His revolutionary ideals left few indifferent. He was a strong voice for social justice in global discussions at the UN General Assembly and international and regional forums.”
(Not a world leader, but Slavoj Zizek’s reaction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRkNDHW3nog )