Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office has confirmed that he will not be attending the funeral of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, a man Trudeau has called a “larger-than-life” leader and “legendary revolutionary.”
The Prime Minister’s office issued a statement only stating that Trudeau would not personally be in attendance because “his schedule doesn’t permit it,” without addressing the wave of global condemnation Trudeau’s statement praising Castro upon his death has triggered.
In his official statement released Friday, Trudeau said he felt “deep sorrow” at the passing of the Cuban tyrant, responsible for thousands of firing squad executions, the internment of tens of thousands of “undesirables” in labor camps, and a million-strong exile population in the United States alone. “A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation,” Trudeau wrote. “Both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”
Castro’s “detractors” in Miami appeared to disagree with the latter statement.
“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend, and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba,” the statement concluded.
Trudeau’s statement elicited a wave of outrage and mockery, with internet users taking to the Twitter hashtag #TrudeauEulogies to pen equally offensive salutes to mass murderers.
Since asked whether he believed Castro to be a dictator, Trudeau said “yes” without elaborating. Instead, he reiterated that Castro had “a deep and lasting impact on the Cuban people.”