Pres­i­dent pays trib­ute to Cas­tro

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

the peo­ple of Africa and South Amer­ica that he sac­ri­ficed so much for.

“I, as Pres­i­dent of Zim­babwe, have come to join the peo­ple of Cuba and mourn with them the loss of our dear brother, and our dear leader Fidel Cas­tro. To ex­press our deep con­do­lences to them, and as­sure them that their feel­ing of deep loss is shared by us in Zim­babwe, and I hap­pen to know by also a great many com­mu­ni­ties and leaders in Africa,” Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said.

“Fidel was not just your leader. He was our leader and the leader of all rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. We fol­lowed him, lis­tened to him and tried to em­u­late him.

“I used to come sev­eral times here and met with him and shared with him our sit­u­a­tion in Africa, our strug­gle in Africa, and there was in him the spirit of a man who iden­ti­fied him­self with our strug­gles,” he said.

Com­man­date Cas­tro came to power in 1959 af­ter over­throw­ing the regime of US acolyte Ful­gen­cio Batista af­ter a pop­u­lar rev­o­lu­tion. He presided over Cuba for 47 years, first as prime min­is­ter up to 1976, then as pres­i­dent from 1976 to 2006 when he handed the reins to his brother, Raul, the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent.

Cde Cas­tro set up a so­cial­ist state right on the US doorstep and launched a peo­ple-cen­tred de­vel­op­ment agenda that drew the wrath of the US es­tab­lish­ment which re­sponded by im­pos­ing an il­le­gal eco­nomic block­ade on Cuba on Fe­bru­ary 3, 1962, in­clud­ing mas­ter­mind­ing 638 at­tempts on Cde Cas­tro’s life, all of which failed as he out­lived 11 US pres­i­dents till he went out on his own terms on Satur­day sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends.

Due to his life of self­less ser­vice not only to Cuba but the en­tire de­vel­op­ing world, Cde Cas­tro’s cir­cle of friends and fam­ily ex­tended beyond the bor­ders of his tiny Caribbean na­tion to en­com­pass all who be­lieve in their in­alien­able right to free­dom and self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, Zim­babwe in­cluded.

Zim­babwe-Cuba re­la­tions date from the days of the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle when Cuba ex­tended ma­te­rial, lo­gis­ti­cal and moral sup­port to the strug­gle. They firmed with the es­tab­lish­ment of for­mal diplo­matic re­la­tions at in­de­pen­dence in 1980 and have been man­i­fest in man­power de­vel­op­ment that cul­mi­nated in the es­tab­lish­ment of the Bin­dura Univer­sity of Sci­ence Ed­u­ca­tion in 1996.

The univer­sity was born out of the lo­cal­i­sa­tion of the highly suc­cess­ful sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics teacher train­ing pro­gramme that had for 10 years seen thou­sands of Zim­bab­weans grad­u­ate with sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics ed­u­ca­tion teach­ing de­grees in Cuba.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said of Cde Cas­tro: “He was not just a man of words, he was a man of ac­tion. And in my coun­try af­ter he vis­ited us dur­ing the Non Aligned Move­ment Summit of 1986 and dis­cussed with me how Cuba could as­sist, he agreed to es­tab­lish on the Isle of Youth, a univer­sity to train our young men and women in sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics. Over­time he trained over 3 000 young teach­ers of sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics who have done a lot of good work in Zim­babwe.

“And be­sides that, he de­cided to start a pro­gramme on a com­pletely un­ex­pected ba­sis tak­ing into ac­count that Cuba was suf­fer­ing from sanc­tions im­posed on it by the United States and its al­lies, a pro­gramme of train­ing doc­tors for coun­tries, Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, South African, if not African com­mu­ni­ties, to train doc­tors for us.

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