While the freedom-loving peoples of the world, especially the Cuban exile community in the United States, celebrate the death of dictator Fidel Castro, the Cuban government has recruited a who’s who of leftist elites to mourn at his funeral, including delegations from Iran, South Africa, and North Korea.
Fidel Castro — whose rule from 1959 to 2008 was defined by human rights atrocities against political dissidents, Christians, LGBT Cubans, and other “undesirables” — made many friends in the international left along the way, particularly in his own Latin America and in Africa.
The BBC’s list of attendees from Latin America is unsurprising. Nicolás Maduro, dictator of the Cuban colony Venezuela, will be in attendance, as well as socialists Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. Enrique Peña Nieto, the president of Mexico, is also expected to attend.
The Spanish newswire service EFE adds a number of leftist former Latin American heads of state to this list: Argentina’s Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, both currently targets of federal corruption probes, and Uruguay’s José Mujica, who, in attempting to compliment Fidel Castro over the weekend, compared him to the fictional character Don Quijote de la Mancha, an old man who suffered from hallucinations.
Representing Africa will be at least two heads of state: South African President Jacob Zuma and 92-year-old genocidal despot Robert Mugabe.
“God is just ignoring Zimbabweans’ prayers,” one Zimbabwean Twitter user remarked upon learning that Mugabe had outlived Castro.
Cuban state propaganda outlet Granma has listed other, lower-level delegation leaders who have already arrived in Cuba to commemorate Castro: Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, Algerian National Council President Abdelkader Ben Salah, and several representatives of smaller Caribbean island nations. Also expected are delegations from state sponsor of terrorism Iran, a longtime ally of the Castro regime, and North Korea.
The North Korean delegation will be led by “Choe Ryong Hae, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).” While dictator Kim Jong-un will not travel to Havana, the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun has published a report that Kim paid homage to “the supreme leader” of Cuba and “the great Comrade” at the Cuban embassy in Pyongyang.
Europe will be sending Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose statements on Castro have arguably been the most favorable. “It is a great honor and thrill to be here in Cuba, traveling thousands of kilometers, to pay tribute to a great leader who inspired not only the Cuban people and the peoples of Latin America, but also the revolutionary flame across the globe,” Tsipras said upon landing in Havana, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini. “The people, no matter how far they are, come together on shared values and common project. And the value of social justice, social liberation is what unites people, ” he claimed.
Cuba has imposed a nine-day mandatory mourning period for the death of Castro, and Granma has announced that each day will feature a new variety of acts to honor the dead leader. Tuesday’s activity is a “mass act” scheduled for 7:00 PM Eastern Time in the Plaza of the Revolution, which will feature the international delegations.