Former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony who shared a close friendship with the late revolutionary leader of Cuba Fidel Castro, reflected on his legacy and spoke about his personal encounters with the former president.
Below is Dr. Anthony’s full statement posted on social media on Sunday:
“Fidel’s death was expected but never for one moment did I think it would come this year. It has truly been an “annus horribilis” (a horrible year), in more ways than one. So much has been incomprehensible and unimaginable.
No tribute can ever be enough to honour Commander Fidel Castro. None will be enough to capture this extraordinary and remarkable man.
There is so much to remember about him: his brilliant and incisive intellect; his prodigious memory; his vast sweep of knowledge; his command of statistics; his humanitarian instincts; his passion for uplifting the poor and the downtrodden; his unflinching and unyielding loyalty to his beliefs; and yes, his incredible sense of humor.
There were many touching moments in the friendship that we shared. When my wife and I had spinal surgery in Cuba some years ago, he made it his duty to visit us during our recovery. We spoke about the world, the Caribbean and in particular, its people and leadership whom he genuinely loved and respected, the future of civilization, new and emerging technologies and of course, gentler subjects like health care and maintenance.
He often ribbed me about my weight, even counselling me about my diet. More than once he accompanied me to the airport in his car. Those trips were opportunities for conversations, personal and otherwise. Despite the presence of security, his weapon of choice was placed at his feet. When I asked in jest why he needed the weapon, he laughed and replied,”the revolution has to be protected day and night, twenty four hours a day.”
Much has been written about him these past few hours. But we, the black peoples of this world, must never, ever forget that it was Cuban soldiers, under the command and leadership of Fidel and Raul Castro, who sacrificed their lives in Africa, to help to dismantle apartheid in South Africa, hasten the independence of Nambia, and secure the liberation of Mozambique and Angola. The rest of the world watched the oppression of the black man,did nothing; some participated and even apologised for it. This extraordinary contribution of Cuba to Southern Africa must never be forgotten.
The world has lost an inspiration, an icon, but I have lost a friend, a comrade. This is a man that history will not see again.There is and there will be, none like him.”