Castro hailed in Parliament

2016-12-01 22:46
Fidel Castro (Alex Castro, Cubadebate, AP)

Fidel Castro (Alex Castro, Cubadebate, AP)

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Cape Town – Political parties lauded former Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s role in the liberation of African countries on Thursday, while the DA said it would do well to remember he was a “torturer, murderer and oppressor”.

The National Assembly was debating a draft resolution by the ANC on the life and times of the Cuban leader, who died at the age of 90 on Friday.

The resolution was passed, with objections from the DA.

The motion by ANC MP Siphosezwe Masango saluted Castro as a courageous revolutionary, a visionary and a legend. Under his leadership, the living standards of the Cuban people were vastly improved and millions of young Cubans were educated and skilled. Illiteracy was eradicated and healthcare improved.

Masango said they joined the world in mourning Castro and celebrated his “glorious legacy”.

“Castro lived and died undefeated. We owe him a deep debt of gratitude,” he said.

DA MP Michael Cardo said while Castro was for many a revolutionary hero, he was the antithesis of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

While there was no doubt that Castro was a friend to the ANC and an ally to the oppressed in the country, he destroyed Cuba, Cardo said.

“In the west, the self-styled standard bearers of socialism have bowed, scrapped, fawned and swooned while mourning. The world will do well to remember that at home, Castro was a torturer, murderer and oppressor,” he said.

He sanctioned thousands of executions and demolished democracy, failed freedom, and obliterated opportunity.

“Castro was a dictator, pure and simple. That is the correct term for someone who forbade free and fair elections, locked up his opponents. He persecuted gay people. His schools provided indoctrination rather than education.”

Agang MP Molapi Plouamma said only descendants of PW Botha and John Vorster would not recognise Castro’s role.

'Mistakes were made'

“The world was blessed with a brave soul, a man who embodied selflessness,” he said.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu said were it not for Castro, people in countries like Angola and Mozambique would not have attained freedom.

“The right-wingers will of course speak like that [negatively] because they miss the colonial past,” he said.

He praised Cuba’s health and education systems under Castro.

“We want to be like Cuba in South Africa. To pursue a progressive socialist agenda that will bring about free education for all. The Cuban flag must fly forever, the people must continue to fight for their freedoms,” Shivambu said.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said Castro was a freedom fighter, often at a great cost to Cuba.

Thousands of Cuban lives were lost in search of freedom in South Africa, he said.

Mistakes were made along the way, Kwankwa said, as there always were in the project of nation building.

“Who can forget the humiliating defeat that the apartheid regime South African defence force suffered at the hands of the Cubans, which paved the way for the freedoms we now enjoy?” the UDM chief whip said.

An emotional Cope MP Willie Madisha recalled a time when he was down and out, and was sent to Cuba to recover. Castro had helped him heal during one of his trying times, Madisha said.

ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley said everyone was in need of redemption and was redeemable.

“I truly hope he found forgiveness and will be able to face the Maker,” she said.

Parliament would send a multi-party delegation to Cuba this weekend.


Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  udm  |  eff  |  fidel castro  |  parliament 2016

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