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President Maithripala Sirisena described Fidel Castro as a great revolutionary leader who set an unparalleled example for true commitment and leadership to the world. “There are no Castros, Marx or Lenins in the world and there are only Batistas and Tzars. Hence, the people themselves will have to fight for their aspirations and rights,” he said.

President Sirisena made this statement at the Remembrance Meeting held to pay tribute to Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader who gave a humane face to the revolution at the President’s House in Colombo today (December 2).

Since launching the great Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, taught an exemplary lesson to the world on freedom, democracy, justice and equality and every politician in the world can take lessons from the life of this great humanist leader who gained international respect and honour, President Sirisena said.

“Fidel Castro was one of the heroes I admired since childhood. Today, as President, I decided to open the doors of the President’s House to pay tribute to this great leader as that is the most befitting respect I could pay in his memory,” he said.

The President recalled that Sri S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, whom he respects as his political leader, recognized the government established by Fidel Castro through the Cuban Revolution, within 48 hours. “He made Sri Lanka the first country in Asia , which officially recognized the government of Fidel Castro”, he said.

The keynote address of the event was delivered by Mr. D E W Gunasekara, the leader of the Communist Party and the Vice President of the Sri Lanka-Cuban Friendship Association who made a significant contribution for the friendship between Sri Lanka and Cuba.

One minute silence in memory of the great leader of the people who won the respect of the world was observed.

President Sirisena paid floral tribute to a photograph of Fidel Castro. The Ambassador of Cuba to Sri Lanka Juana Elena Ramos Rodriguez also joined the President at this occasion.

Former President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Speaker karu Jayasuriya, Ministers and MPs, Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Tissa Vitharana, Political Party leaders, diplomats and dignitaries attended at this ceremony.

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