Trudeau statement on Castro death causes controversy

Justin Trudeau’s official statement on the death of Fidel Castro criticized for being too laudatory of former dictator


The Prime Minister is facing criticism for his statement expressing “deep sorrow” about the death of former Cuban president Fidel Castro.

Justin Trudeau, who recently returned from a diplomatic visit to Cuba, made the statement early Saturday after the late-night announcement that Castro had died at the age of 90.

Trudeau remembered the late president as a “larger-than-life leader”, who made significant improvements to Cuba’s education and health-care systems.

“A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and health care of his island nation,” Trudeau said.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend,” he added.

More: Trudeau offers condolences at Castro’s death

But others in Canada were less generous in their description of the controversial leader.

Opposition leader Rona Ambrose said in a written statement that under Castro’s rule, thousands of people were impoverished, imprisoned and executed.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Cuba who continue to endure his long and oppressive regime, even after his death,” she wrote.

And many people – particularly members of the Conservative Party – are condemning the prime minister’s statement, pointing out human rights violations during Castro’s half-century regime.

Conservative leadership hopeful Lisa Raitt wrote on Facebook that Trudeau should be ashamed of himself after his remarks.

“With those words, Justin Trudeau has placed himself on the wrong side of history – against the millions of Cubans yearning for freedom. The Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself. He must retract this statement and apologize,” she wrote.

Another hopeful, Kellie Leitch, wrote on her Facebook page that Trudeau should have called Castro’s administration “brutal, oppressive, and murderous”, rather than describing him “as if reading from a storybook.”

Robert Wright, who wrote the book “Three Nights in Havana” about the relationship between Castro and Pierre Trudeau, said it made sense Trudeau would express warm condolences for Castro.

“He has to walk a knife’s edge,” he said. “Canadians have a long, rather proper diplomatic relationship with revolutionary Cuba.”

“On the one hand Justin Trudeau has his family inheritance: his father’s very, very warm friendship with Fidel Castro, and Justin’s own warm rapport with the Cubans,” Write said. “And on the other hand, he has to face criticism when Raul Castro says Cuba will take its own time on democratic reforms and won’t be rushed by Obama or Justin Trudeau or anyone else.”

More: Fidel Castro, defiant leader of communist Cuba, dies at 90

Maxime Bernier, who is also running for Conservative leadership, called Trudeau’s statement “repugnant.”

“He persecuted gay people, he was against freedom of speech and repressed free expression. He was not a president. He’s a dictator. So I’m not very comfortable with that press release,” he told The Canadian Press.

And while former prime minister Stephen Harper hasn’t weighed in, his son Ben Harper has.

The younger Harper tweeted, “Castro was a monstrous leader, and the world is better off now he’s dead.”

He also tweeted that Trudeau’s statement is “an embarrassment for Canada.”

In his statement, Trudeau offered his condolences “on behalf of Canadians”.

Wright said that would likely upset some Canadians who wouldn’t want to be included in such “warm remarks.”


Trudeau statement on Castro death causes controversy

  1. A PM who knows how to behave. How refreshing.

    • He may have behaved as you ,(a left loving, brain washed type)
      ,likes. He does not speak for many Canadians. Not all of us approve of dictators.

      • Sorry, I have never been left.

        However you must be one of those working class Trump supporters to be this ignorant

        • Why don’t you give it up on the trash talk?

        • Jim Tyas

          Simple enough. I call trash….trash


          Justin Trudeau is terribly naive and apparently so are you. Spend a few months in Cuba and live amongst the people. You will learn much of how they lack freedom to be who they are (gay and lesbian) to go where they want to (within their own island without special permission). You will find that they have separate money than the tourists do. Why? So they can’t be tipped and make more to improve their situation. They instead ask for tourists to provide them with shampoo, deodarant, Tylenol and basic toiletries. The hospitals are lacking in basic items as well. The buildings are crumbling. There are few if any restaurants outside of resorts because only certain types of food are grown at the behest of the government and herbs that provide flavouring aren’t on the list. Batista was a despot but so was Castro. He imprisoned and tortured and murdered anyone who didn’t follow his belief system and he attempted to rehabilitate gay and lesbian people. He was intelligent and cunning, there is no doubt. His own fortune is said to have been 900 million dollars. He monitored his people with a vigilance to make sure they never stepped out of line and of course, he wasn’t going to be voted out. Does this make him worthy of expansive praise and very little constructive criticism (calling him controversial). No. Justin Trudeau should have kept his own personal thoughts on the greatness of the man to himself. He could have expressed his condolesences to the country and wishes for a promising future but what he did was to whitewash the suffering of so many and justify it because Castro defeated a worse dictator and established education and healthcare. He did it because his dad and Castro struck but a friendship despite their differing beliefs about human rights. Journalists are right to be critical and set the record straight. That is what a free press does.

      • Just for the record (because there is too much ignorance here) I side with Emily1.

    • Okay you’re falling in to the demented category.

  2. On behalf of Canadians? I am Canadian and you don’t speak for me on Castro. Trudeau has embarrassed Canada with his eulogy. Well like father like son. It sure hasn’t taken long for the Liberals to take us right back to where we were 10 years ago. Some sunny days!

  3. When we compare the terrible dictatorship of right-wing fascist Batista and the U.S. criminals that oppressed Cuba for much too long Castro was without a doubt a freedom fighter and much better leader for the people of Cuba. Trudeau said the right things and most Cuban people would agree.

    • Yes, so would most Canadians

    • Tell me again how many Cuban’s deaths can be attributed to each regime?

      Awaiting your answer.

      • Is there some reason you’re defending the mafia-dictatorship of Batista?

        • So one evil is better than the last evil. So what exactly was the body count between these two regimes?

          • Oh are you discussing philosophy now?

            I thought we were talking politics

            Castro was far better for Cuba than Batista

            Without Castro, Cuba would have ended up like Mexico

        • It isn’t a contest of which regime was worse. It is a recognition that Castro was not quite a hero. He promised to provide open elections and sweeping reforms and he never did. He let his people live in object poverty. It is like celebrating Vlad Putin as a great leader because he isn’t as bad as Stalin was. Set the bar low enough, and anyone can look great in comparison. The question is whether Castro was a great leader for 40 years or was he a despot dictator who did a few great things over his 40 year reign and many bad things and did Cubans deserve better under his leadership? That is the whole point of the Trudeau eulogy hashtags….if you look hard enough, one can find something redeeming in every despot dictator but it doesn’t make them a good person in the big picture and it doesn’t make them worthy of effusive praise by a Canadian PM upon their death. I don’t care who has done it before, it is insensitive to those he misused and it doesn’t speak well of our countries belief in the important of human rights. We have our own struggles and we have to show we are sensitive to oppressed peoples.

          • Hitler made the trains run on time..
            Castro executed about 5,600 members of the Batista government immediately after the successful 1959 coup
            Batista made the mistake of only jailing Castro after his first, failed coup attempt in 1956

        • So no answer?

          According to Rudolph J. Rummel, that same Rudolph who is an expert on genocide and mass state murders (read New Scientist – 20 deadliest events in world history)), Batista is responsible for 1,000 Cuban state murders and Castro is responsible for 70,000 state murders. Now, according to the Cuban archives Castro is actually responsible for 100,000 state murders. But I know you Emily only like your information from reputable scientific factual sources – thus the Randolph data source. You can’t argue with facts – right?

          Anyways. Try defending Castro now!

          • Did you think this was a hockey game?

        • Wow Emily. I was hoping to give you the benefit of the doubt.

          Only a left-leaning diehard like yourself could liken the atrocities committed by Castro to a hockey game. He committed 1000’s to firing squads of which he himself took place in a low estimate of 100 by pulling the first trigger.

          I’ve seen questionable comments before. But this has to absolutely be the lowest Emily. Shame on you.

          • what does like Mexico mean..exactly..

  4. “Stop Harper!” was the rallying cry of the Canadian left, as if he were Hitler, Stalin and Mao rolled into one. Now the haircut that they all voted for is gonna venerate a guy who actually lead an extremely repressive regime: imprisoned and executed dissidents without trial, didn’t allow freedom of expression, and threw gay people in camps. And his fangirls will just eat it up, and mindlessly defend him.

    I’m not saying that Castro was 100% evil, or that the world is black and white. The regime he replaced was terrible, and the US government are obviously no angels. But for Trudeau to be heaping praise on such a murderous despot is ridiculous. But not out of character for him, and I’m sure his mindless base won’t take issue as long as he keeps smiling in those selfies.

    • Meanwhile we’re buds with countries like the US and Saudi Arabia…..and they make Cuba look like kid-stuff

      • Umm the US isn’t anywhere near as repressive to it’s citizens as the Castro regime was….that’s why so many Cubans fled there. Same reason why they were partying in the streets when they heard that he died. Anyway, yea the world is a messed up place and a lot of leaders need to do some pretty terrible stuff to keep a hold of power. I’m not saying that Castro didn’t have his good points, but it’s not a good look for our PM to basically be blowing the guy like that. Look at the statement that Obama put out concerning Casto’s death, that is a much more reasonable and measured statement, not the fawning fangirl praise that Justine was heaping on him. But what should we really expect from a drama teacher who got elected for being photogenic.

        • Dubya alone killed over 100,000……and that doesn’t count the many wars the US has indulged in

          Cubans in the US partied in the streets…..people in Cuba did not. Most of the Cubans in the US were rich and lost their land in the revolution.

          Castro was a pallbearer at Pierre’s funeral……the men were friendly.

          Castro did nothing to Canada…….

          Castro asked the US for help…and got none… the US had backed Batista…so Castro asked the USSR for help.

          The US did this to itself……as they always do

          • Yes, Pierre and Fidel were personal friends despite very different outlooks on the important of human rights. Justin Trudeau might have all kinds of personal respect and affection for Fidel Castro but his official stance as the Prime Minister of Canada has to be tempered by the reality that Fidel Castro was not a supporter of free speech, free press, gay and lesbian rights, the rights of freedom of his people and that he had no qualms about arresting and torturing and killing his own citizens due to their differing political beliefs. Separating the intelligent man you like from his actions is paramount when one is the head of a country that embraces free speech, free press and freedom of citizens to embrace any political views they want to. It is part of the role Trudeau chose when ran for public office. He now represents an entire country and not just his and his family’s own personal feelings.

          • Dubya killed 100k of his own people? Lol, what? Your comment doesn’t make any sense. I don’t get what the heck you’re talking about here. So Castro and Pierre were friendly? Great. But Justin didn’t just mention that, he praised the guy as a great leader of his people, and he isn’t speaking as just Pierre Trudeau’s kid he’s speaking as the PM of Canada. Castro didn’t do anything to Canada….did I say that he did? Jesus. Is it within your capacity to ever admit that Justin or the Liberal party screw up, or do/say something that you don’t agree with, or are you so partisan and brainwashed that you can’t? It’s impressive because you haven’t been literally forced to support the ruling party under penalty of imprisonment, torture or worse – unlike the Cuban citizens under Fidel.

          • JohnD80

            Don’t answer posts until you read them

            Cons always argue through a fog

          • Cubans in Cuba could not celebrate..not without repercussions, beatings from the feared MININT secret police thugs, security apparatus of Raul Castro

      • Buds with Saudi…….yes and that would be Dion and Trudeau who went ahead and supplied them with military vehicles to suppress uprisings. Will Trudeau be eulogizing them with effusive praise after they have crapped on their people or does he save those for his dad’s friends?

  5. Alternatively, I ‘spose, he could have tried to be “nice” to the DuPonts and the Mob and the
    Batista Buddies and suffered the gentle fate of Chile and Guatemala and Nicaragua and the DR
    and Haiti and Iran and the Congo and,and,and….

    • It isn’t that he didn’t do well in over throwing Batista or in providing healthcare and education but rather that once in power he saw himself as a father who would usurp all freedoms that his children, the Cuban people would have. He thought homosexuality was unnatural so he sought to erase it. He wanted to ensure all his people followed his political leanings so he had them watched. He arrested anyone who stepped out of line in terms of political beliefs. He tortured people and he killed people. He maintained complete control of their movements; their ability to earn money; the food they ate as he dispensed to them. Perhaps you would happy to live that way but you wouldn’t be writing your opinon on a blog like this because there was never a free press in 40 years of his rule. One couldn’t even speak to say that disagreed for fear of arrest. Those of us that live with these freedoms are quick to dismiss their importance.

  6. Cuba was a giant Mafia casino and hub for drugs and money laundering

    The US supported Batista

    Castro changed all that

    You kids should learn some history