STATEMENT BY DR. FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE STATE FUNERAL OF THE VERY HONORABLE PIERRE ELLIOT TRUDEAU

I have come to Canada, in time of deep grief for the Canadian people, to pay tribute to the undying memory of Pierre Trudeau, a world class statesman who was a close personal friend and one for whom I felt great admiration. I always considered him a serious political leader, sincerely interested in the world problems and the situation in the Third World countries as well as a consistent politician who made a transcendental contribution to the modern history of Canada. He was an upright and brave man who, regardless of difficult circumstances, fostered his countryís relations with Cuba.

It is a privilege for me to have shared with him a number of extensive meetings where we respectfully exchanged views and ideas even if our viewpoints were not always fully coincidental.

Presently, I share in the grief and sorrow of Pierre Trudeauís family and of all Canadiansí . I cannot help but remember that only two years ago this family suffered another terrible tragedy with the passing of Michael Trudeau whom I had met at a very early stage of his life when as a four-month-old baby his father took him on a visit to Cuba and I held in my arms more than once. I have brought with me some photos of those dearly cherished days to leave to the family as mementos.

I have wanted to be here, personally, as a testimony of my respect, friendship and sympathy for the people of Canada, one of the countries from the developed western world that never practiced colonial exploitation and with which we have had fruitful cultural and economic exchanges for decades.

The Cuban people and Government wish to express their heartfelt sympathies to Pierre Trudeauís family and to the Canadian people and Government.

The memory of Pierre Trudeauīs work, and his standing as an extraordinary and noble statesman in the complex century it was our fate to live, will forever rest with all the people of goodwill everywhere in the world.

 

Fidel Castro Ruz

Montreal, October 2, 2000