In death, as in life, Fidel Castro remains a contradiction and a conundrum.
Hailed as a hero by millions for having brought significant political and social advancement to Cuba, he is equally condemned as a brutal dictator who ruined his country’s economy and impoverished his people.
According to President Michael D Higgins, “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”.
Nowhere in the president’s long, public statement does he mention Castro’s appalling record on human rights, save for an oblique acknowledgement that Cuba’s economic and social reforms were introduced “at the price of a restriction of civil society”.
While he is entitled to his private views, when the President speaks or sends a message openly, he does so on behalf of us all.
As our elected President, First Citizen, and head of State, it is incumbent on him to offer a far more balanced view on a matter of such public importance.
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