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Canada: Justin Trudeau will not attend Fidel Castro’s funeral

Canada: Justin Trudeau will not attend Fidel Castro’s funeral

India Blooms News Service | | 29 Nov 2016, 05:57 pm
Toronto, Nov. 29 (IBNS): Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will not attend late Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s memorial or funeral services due to his busy schedule, said Trudeau’s office, 680News reported.

Instead, Governor General David Johnston has been sent to attend Castro’s memorial service scheduled to be held Tuesday in Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, a huge square where Castro often spoke to supporters.

During his recent visit to the island nation Trudeau had laid a wreath steps away from where the memorial is scheduled to take place.

Trudeau’s Office did not say if any other government representatives would attend memorial services or Castro's funeral.

Other world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Theresa May had also planned not to attend Castro's funeral.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was reportedly planning to attend.

Trudeau had taken this decision due to harsh criticism at home and abroad for his acclamatory statement on weekend expressing his "deep sorrow" on the death of Castro, 90, referring to him as a "a controversial figure, and a "legendary revolutionary and orator" who made noteworthy improvements in the health-care systems and education Cuba.

Trudeau shielded his statement and said that he was just trying to emphasise the relations between Canada and Cuba.

But the Opposition Conservatives in the House of Commons took Trudeau to task Monday and advised him to revise his written statement.

Trudeau also agreed in a news conference Sunday that Castro was a dictator.

Commenting on immaturity of Trudeau, the Tories also demanded that he apologize for trying to cover-up Castro's past

"The prime minister, instead of paying tribute to a dictator, should have offered condolences to the long-suffering oppressed people of Cuba," said Kent.

"The prime minister should have spoken of hopes for a better democratic future for the people of Cuba."

He said Trudeau "not only expressed personal sorrow at Fidel's passing, but described as a real honour his recent meeting with Fidel's successor, the equally ruthless Raul."

The Liberals supported the statement.

Canada did no favour Cuban rule, but maintained ties to support and help Cubans take steps towards democracy, said Stephane Dion, Foreign Affairs Minister.

Trudeau did not meet with Fidel Castro during his official visit two weeks back.

Trudeau had spoken of "the friendship between your family and mine." during a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel's younger brother.

"It's nothing compared to the true friendship between all Canadians and all Cubans and I look forward to continuing to build on that," he continued.

(Reported by Asha Bajaj, Image: Justin Trudeau Wikipedia)