Anne Jolis

Is Justin Trudeau totally clueless about Castro’s Cuba?

In Miami’s Little Havana, champagne fizzed all weekend. Meanwhile, the rest of us in the free world amused ourselves comparing the barmiest political reactions to the death of Fidel Castro. Jeremy Corbyn is strong in the running for the ‘Despot Hagiography Award’, though top honours must go to the national statesmen remembering a tyrant as a saint.

‘A giant among global leaders,’ Irish President Michael Higgins gushed, ‘whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet.’ His statement went on to praise Cuba’s health system as ‘one of the most admired in the world’. Yes, the same one where patients reportedly must bring their own sheets, pillows, and medicine to hospital and where, Andrew Roberts notes, ‘doctors earned more moonlighting as tourist guides’.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Corbyn a run for his money in his tribute, in which he highlighted his family ties with the ‘controversial figure’:

I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba. On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.

His statement has sparked a diverting game on Twitter, #TrudeauEulogies:

@MelissaLantsman ‘Mr. Stalin’s greatest achievement was his eradication of obesity in the Ukraine through innovative agricultural reforms #TrudeauEulogies’ @FowlCanuck ‘Today we mourn painter and animal rights activist, Adolf Hitler. His death also highlights the need for suicide awareness #TrudeauEulogies’ ‏@SohrabAhmari ‘Though he didn’t shy away from controversy Pharaoh will be remembered for enhancing labour productivity in Egypt #TrudeauEulogies’

It’s unclear whether Trudeau is ignorant or indifferent to the fact that mourning is the only expression allowed for ‘the people of Cuba’ at the moment.

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