The world erupted into celebration this weekend with the long-overdue news of Fidel Castro’s death, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had only kind words to mark the dictator’s passing.
Trudeau expressed “deep sorrow” in regards to “the death of Cuba’s longest serving president,” even going so far as to call Castro a “larger than life leader who served his people.”
Castro ruled Cuba with an iron fist for nearly five decades, and his political oppression and human rights abuses have landed him in the same category as former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Even so, Trudeau praised Castro as a “legendary revolutionary and orator” who “made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.”
Trudeau noted that his father, former PM Pierre Trudeau, “was very proud to call him [Castro] a friend.”
Cuba’s relationship with Canada during Castro’s rule was far friendlier than the one it shared with the US, and the two nations have enjoyed uninterrupted diplomatic relations since 1945. To this day, Canada is the island’s largest source of tourists.
Cuban-Americans had a far different response to Castro’s death. Florida Senator Marco Rubio was stunned by Trudeau’s kind words. “If this is a real statement from the PM of Canada it is shameful and embarrassing,” he tweeted on Saturday.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was similarly disgusted by what she calls Trudeau’s “love letter to dead Fidel Castro.” Ros-Lehtinen and her family fled Cuba when she was eight.
“I’ve been reading” Trudeau’s comments and “I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba.’”
Trudeau’s words have even spawned a wave of clever parody tributes:
• “Mr. Stalin’s greatest achievement was his eradication of obesity in the Ukraine through innovative agricultural reforms.” – Melissa Lantsman.
• “Kim Jong-il will always be remembered fondly for his leadership and contributions on climate change.” – Albertaardvark (shows a night time satellite map, South Korea is lighted up, North Korea is dark).
Search #TrudeauEulogies for more parodies.