Castro's death - the end of an era - Rupert Lewis

Retired Lecturer in the Department of  Government at the University of  the West Indies, Mona, Professor Rupert Lewis says the death of Fidel Castro  has signalled the end of  an era.

"A very special era has passed in which Fidel Castro became a global figure in the battle of the oppressed for a better life, against inequality, against forms of global exploitation and so on, he was a huge figure in the politics of the last 50-odd years"

According to Lewis, Castro's legacy should be assessed based on the example set and the impact he had on the world as 'a big man from a small island' and this was evident in Cuba sending 400,000 soldiers during the war in Angola in the 1970's and 80's.

"In addition , the Caribbean as a whole has benefited from the expansion in health, education, we have benfitted from other aspects in sports, the facilities (such as), G.C. Foster .  Generally we have had good relations with Cuba across different political regimes, the high point of course was with Michael Manley who had a strong relationship with Castro."

Concerning Cuba's future  - the retired lecturer believes the Caribbean will continue to have a good relationship with Cuba despite the death of the former leader.

US/Cuba relations

According to Lewis - the death of Castro will have an impact on US Cuba relations which have began to thaw in the last few years, noting that ther is a stark difference between the efforts of  President Barack Obama and the recent comments of  President elect Donald Trump regarding Cuban relations.

Lewis says the stridency of  Cuban exiles in Miami will also impact this effort.

"It will have an impact because Trumps statement is typical of the old cold war hostility and it is a sentiment that dominates the US Congress in large measure, because the embargo still remains in tact after five decades, although there was some thawing because of Obama's realism and idealism," Lewis said.   

Castro died late Friday.

His body was cremated on Saturday and his brother President Raul Castro has declared nine days of mourning.

From Monday thousands will be able to pay respects before the ashes of their former leader.

A funeral service for Castro, will be held on December 4.

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