RENUA wish to make clear, in the strongest sense possible, that the statement of President Higgins on the death of Fidel Castro does not represent our view, nor that of our members, in relation to this issue.

Fidel CastroWhilst we understand the necessity to be tactful in speaking of the dead, particularly when the dead were recently leaders of other sovereign states, we do think it important to note that Fidel Castro was a dictator, and a brutal dictator at that, whose regime murdered thousands of people, sentenced thousands of people to death, often following show trials, and engaged in the usage of torture, repression, the mass jailing of dissenters, sent homosexuals to labour camps to be ‘re-educated’ and declared that homosexuality was ‘incompatible with the revolution’.

As such, we cannot agree with the President that “Fidel Castro will be remembered as a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet”. The man was a tyrant and a murderer; he should be remembered as such. President Higgins has demeaned himself, and more importantly the office of the Presidency, by using his position to praise a dictator, a murderer, and a torturer who sought to break the spirit of the Cuban people.

RENUA party leader John Leahy had the following to say about the statement, “It’s important that we remember that people suffered under Castro. An entire country suffered under Castro. The man destroyed the free press, jailed and tortured democrats, priests, homosexuals, and anyone who tried to stand against him.

“I, personally, cannot accept that the President speaks for me when he talks of him as a champion of the oppressed and the excluded, when he talks of him as if he was a normal politician who made a few minor mistakes.

Fidel Castro murdered, tortured, and jailed all those who opposed him, and he should be remembered for his victims”.

Castro’s crimes are numerous, and, as such, we have included a link to a 1999 Human Rights Watch report which details the usage of torture, repression, show trials and the arbitrary arrest of dissenters, amongst many other violations of human rights.