Minister pays tribute to late Fidel Castro
December 23, 2016

Minister pays tribute to late Fidel Castro

From the pressure cooker that is the Caribbean experience, with its rich and unique history, there emerges one leader ever so often, from our cauldron of contradictions, who embodies our deepest convictions and noblest aspirations.

And, according to Minister of Economic Planning Camillo Gonsalves, former Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz was one such leader.{{more}}

“Rarely but reliably, an individual would bubble forth from our boiling cauldron of contradictions to become the physical manifestation of our deepest convictions and noblest aspirations. Ever so often, an embodiment of our Caribbean spirit emerges from the fire to light the world and set ablaze the enforced orthodoxies that under earn oppression, subjugation and injustice.

“Dr Fidel Alejandro Ruz was such a man and such a manifestation. He was a shining diamond who was created by the unique pressures of our Caribbean experience and his own life,” Gonsalves said during a special sitting of the House of Assembly on Thursday, December 8.

During the special sitting, a minute of silence was observed in Castro’s honour and glowing tributes were made to former Cuban president who passed away on November 26 at the age of 90.

Gonsalves stated that Castro was shaped by his time and an unimaginable effort of sustained imperialist aggression against his government and people.

“An aggression that included an illegal economic embargo, a relentless anti-Castro propaganda campaign, espionage, and sabotage, terrorist attacks, attempted military intervention and hundreds of assassination attempts. But the attempts to subvert, slander and suppress the power and Fidel ideas have failed…,” Gonsalves stated.

The Minister said that the contributions from Cuba have accelerated and altered the course of Vincentian development.

“The tangible measure of contributions of Field Castro and the government and people of Cuba to St Vincent and the Grenadines probably far exceeds our annual Gross Domestic Product,” he said.

Gonsalves noted that Castro would be permanently etched in the hearts of not only Cubans but Vincentians also.

“The road that we trod together as a nation is paved in part and shaped in apart by Fidel Castro’s act and inspirations. Our tale of progress can partially be told by Spanish speaking Vincentians educated in Cuban universities or measured by the families lifted out of poverty or illness through Cuban generosity or tabulated through the miles of roads or square footage of building designed by Cuban engineers or weighed on the scales of farmers whose crops and live stock are more plentiful or bountiful through Cuban assistance and training….”

Gonsalves said that in the few times he was in Castro’s presence he was able to experience his “profound intellect, charm, sense of humour, empathy and inexhaustible curiosity.”

“I witnessed too the workings of a disciplined and pragmatic mind and a willingness to yield to weight of evidence based argument that belied Fidel’s reputation as a stubborn utopian dreamer,” Gonsalves noted.

He said that after he was informed by Cuban President Raul Castro that Fidel wanted no monuments in his honour or public spaces bearing his name and he began wondering how they could ensure an enduring honour to this great man.

“I believe the answer to this question lies in the words Fidel once said in remembrance of his comrade Ernesto Che Guvara. Fidel suggested that we should aspire for our future generations to emulate and be educated in the sprit of El Che. Today I rephrase him to say if we want to say how we want our men and women to be, we should say without hesitation let them be like Fidel, if we want to say how we want the men of future generations to be, we should say let them be like Fidel, if we want to say how we want our children to be educated we should say without hesitation we want them to be educated in Fidel’s spirit, if we want a model of a man; a model of a man who does not belong to this time, a model of a man who belongs to future times from our heart I say that model is Fidel.”

If we want to know how we want our children to be we should say with all our mind and heart we want them to be like Fidel. I can think of no better monument…,” Gonsalves added.

Also paying tribute to the former Cuban President were Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, newly appointed Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday, deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis Straker and Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar.