Saturday 20 January 2018

Amnesty chief questions Cuban leader's human rights record

William Wade. Photo: Arthur Carron
William Wade. Photo: Arthur Carron

Gavin White

People need to look at Fidel Castro's "impact on human rights" when remembering his legacy, Amnesty International's executive director has said.

Colm O'Gorman said there was "really grave and often horrific violations at the hands of Castro's regime".

He said although his track record on a "system for health, education and housing" was positive, people were ignoring the "much darker" side of his legacy.

He said there was a "need to counterbalance the context" of his legacy of "five decades of brutal repression and suppression of dissent", before adding that "to ignore that, quite frankly, is less than honest".

Mr O'Gorman also cited the example of a Cuban graffiti artist who was imprisoned for writing "Fidel" and "Raul" on the behind of a pig when showing Castro's severity.

For Cuban people living in Ireland, reaction to the legacy of the Cuban dictator was generally positive. Tony Marrero (33), originally from Havana but living in Ireland for the past 20 years, said he would "agree mainly with comments" made by President Michael D. Higgins who described him as "a giant amongst global leaders".

Mr Marrero adding that Cuba is "not as bad as other Latin American countries where violence is off the scale".

Salsa dancer William Wade (29) grew up in Havana but now lives in Santry, Dublin.

"Our life was very hard," he said. When asked if he looks back on Castro's legacy with positivity, he said: "Yes but I look at all the things in Cuba and not just Castro."

The Dublin Lord Mayor has said there will be a book of condolences open in City Hall on Monday in respect to the late Cuban dictator.

Irish Independent

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