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Minister defends President's statement on death of Fidel Castro

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Minister defends President's statement on death of Fidel Castro

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has said President Michael D Higgins was "entitled" to make his own views known about Fidel Castro following his death.

“The President is quite entitled to make his views known on the passing of Castro,’’ said Charlie Flanagan.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics on Sunday, Mr Flanagan said he respected the right, in the first instance, and the view of President Higgins.

“If you go back over the past 40 years, nobody in Irish politics has done so much work, or had such an association with Latin American politics, than Michael D Higgins, ’’ he added.

President Higgins has come under criticism for issuing a statement on former Cuban president Castro's passing which described him as a "giant amongst global leaders".

President Higgins, in a statement, added that economic and social reforms introduced in Cuba “were at the price of a restriction of civil society, which brought its critics’’.

The Minister said Castro was “the last of the big strong men of the Cold War era ’’, adding he was “a complex figure with a very mixed legacy’’. He said he had not agreed with much of what Castro said or did.

“I am not a fan of his, but I come from an historically different position than President Higgins,’’ Mr Flanagan added.

President Higgins’ praise of Fidel Castro has been challenged by politicians and human rights activists who have warned against glossing over the Cuban leader’s abuses.

 

SEE ALSO: HIGGINS UNDER FIRE AS HE DESCRIBES CASTRO AS A GIANT OF POLITICS