EC President Juncker praises ‘heroic’ dictator

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has praised late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as a “hero for many”.

In a statement issued by the Commission after Castro’s death, Mr Junker said the Communist dictator was “one of the historic figures of the past century and the embodiment of the Cuban Revolution.”

“With the death of Fidel Castro,” he added, “The world has lost a man who was a hero for many.”

“He changed the course of his country and his influence reached far beyond,” Juncker said. ”

“Fidel Castro remains one of the revolutionary figures of the 20th century. His legacy will be judged by history.”

Juncker is one of a number of world leaders who have lauded the dictator. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute, calling Castro a “remarkable leader” and “legendary revolutionary” who made “significant improvements” to his country.

UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also called Castro “an internationalist and a champion of social justice,” while Russian President Vladimir Putin praised him as someone who “embodies the highest ideals of politics, citizen and patriot, sincerely convinced of the rightness of the case, which gave his whole life.”

Their statements are in stark contrast to US President-Elect Donald Trump, who called Castro a “brutal dictator”.

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” he said.

“While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”