Your Excellency Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency Ms. Ana Silvia Rodriguez Abascal, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba and Chargé d’affairs.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon, to deliver his message to mark the passing of former President of Cuba Fidel Castro.
I join with all of you in conveying sincere condolences to the Government and people of Cuba on the death of His Excellency Fidel Castro Ruz.
Fidel Castro was one of the most important Latin American leaders of the 20th century. He was the most influential shaper of Cuban history since his own hero, José Martí, struggled for Cuban independence in the late 19th century.
As Prime Minister, President, Commander of the Cuban Armed Forces and First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, his role at the helm of Cuba spanned nearly 50 years, during which he left a major imprint on his country and on global politics.
As President, Fidel Castro turned Cuba into a regional model of access to education and public health. He went on to make on Cuba’s expertise in these areas the center of the country's regional and international cooperation. This commitment is still evident today in Cuba’s invaluable support to the Colombian peace process and its rapid medical response to the recent Ebola crisis in Africa.
I have vivid memories of my visit to Cuba in January 2014, during which I had the opportunity to hold discussions with President Fidel Castro. Until his last days he was deeply concerned about the future of humanity and the challenges of our times.
I once again express condolences to the Government and people of Cuba.