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Fred Mitchell recalls a dinner that he had with then President of Cuba Fidel Castro.   Mr. Castro called his doctor out to see the Ministers of Caricom gathered there.  He said that the doctor had the secret to life that could extend it to 120 years.  He said that there was a former servant of his late father who was a testament to the doctor’s skills.  Alas, he did not reach 120 but 90 is certainly good enough and he outlasted all those other political leaders who reviled him and wanted him gone.  At that same dinner, he told the Caricom ministers that he got a little worried when he heard the American President then George Bush say he was interested in a transition in Cuba, especially when he said he wanted to speed up the transition. That’s what you call gallows humour. Now he has gone on his own terms.  The Cuban Government announced his passing in the early hours of 25 November.  The US and Cuba have a rapprochement, even though the President elect in the United States Donald Trump issued a statement which trashes Mr. Castro in death.  His brother is his successor and Cuba appears to be a stable state.  That is the testament to the great revolutionary he was and we know that his people are grieving at this time.  Our condolences to them for the loss of a great leader, who brought them out of the bondage of capitalist subservience to the light of socialism but more importantly to being able to read, eat and live with dignity across the nation and all classes.  May he rest in peace!  The funeral will be held next Sunday 5th December. The Government of The Bahamas issued the following statement upon his passing:

For Immediate Release

26 November 2016

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has learned of the passing of Fidel Castro, former President of Cuba, 26 November 2016.  President Castro, who led his country for almost 50 years has left an enduring legacy.  The Bahamas and Cuba established diplomatic relations in 1974, and throughout that time President Castro was a strong friend and ally.

The Ministry extends condolences to the Government and People of Cuba as they mourn the passing of their former leader.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell has spoken to the Cuban Ambassador in The Bahamas and extended condolences on behalf of the nation and the Prime Minister. A Diplomatic Note will be sent to the Government of Cuba.