While the world watches America’s Cuban exile community celebrate the death of dictator Fidel Castro, those who have governed their own countries similarly have issued official statements of condolences for the communist caudillo, describing him as a “giant” among repressive autocrats who “resisted” the beacon of freedom 90 miles to his north.
Below, five responses from autocrats around the globe to Castro’s passing:
Venezuela’s dictator Nicolás Maduro – officially losing his status as president after suppressing a constitutionally permissible recall vote petition – issued a statement on state radio, comparing Castro to late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez, who was a close ally of the Castro regime.
“Amid the pain and the memories, we will always remember aloud our Comandante Chávez,” Maduro said on Saturday. “What a deep friendship they cultivated, a friendship of struggle and values… two revolutions harassed by the Empire, that have thrived and must continue to thrive.”
While Syria and Cuba have few common needs as a state, the nations had long been allies on the international stage, voting together to advance the agendas of allies like China and Cuba at the United Nations. Embattled dictator Bashar al-Assad took some time out of his Saturday to praise Castro as a “giant leader” who has “throughout the decades led the struggle of his country and people against imperialism and hegemony with all aptitude and capacity.”
“The resistance of the Cuban leader has become legend and an inspiration for all the leaders and peoples of the world,” Assad reportedly said.
“The name Fidel Castro will remain etched in the minds of all generations, as an inspiration for all the peoples seeking true independence and liberation from the yoke of colonization and hegemony,” Assad reportedly said.
Like Castro, Putin has managed to perpetuate himself in power for years, and appears to have no plans of retiring. In his statement, Putin referred to Castro’s as a “free and independent Cuba, which he and his allies built.” Castro, he claimed, “became an influential member of the international community and became an inspiring example for many countries and nations.
“Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia. He made a huge input in establishment and development of the Russian-Cuban relations, close strategic partnership in all spheres,” the Putin statement reads. “He was a strong and wise person, who always faced future with confidence. He demonstrated high ideals of a politician, citizen and patriot, who is adamant in the right course, to which he sacrificed all his life.”
As a Communist leader in name – not just in practice like Maduro or Assad – Xi Jinping’s praise for Fidel Castro is to be expected. Xi called Castro a “great leader” in his statement of condolences to the Cuban communists, “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,” according to Chinese state outlet Xinhua.
“The late Cuban leader has also made immortal historic contributions to the world socialist development, Xi added,” Xinhua notes.
“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 concluded.