Former GDR premier denies advising Cuba on transition

February 24th, 2008 - 7:52 pm ICT by admin  

Berlin, Feb 24 (IANS) The former prime minister of the erstwhile German Democratic Republic (GDR), Hans Modrow, has denied reports that he was in Cuba to advise its government on transition to a more democratic regime, Spains’ EFE news agency reported Sunday. Heinz Dieterich, advisor to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and considered one of the ideologues of the so-called “socialism of the 21st century,” had said that Modrow had travelled secretly to Cuba at the invitation of Fidel Castro and was meeting with a number of high officials on the island about the process that led to the end of communism in the GDR.

“I don’t know what Dieterich’s intentions were in making that statement, but it’s not true,” Modrow told the Berlin daily Junge Welt.

Modrow, 80, said that he has been in Havana since mid-February, but he went in order to present his book “In Historischer Mission” (On a Historic Mission).

The presence of the ex-prime minister of the GDR in the Cuban capital came to the notice of German public in mid-February through the popular daily Bild, which reported that he went to the island at the invitation of Fidel Castro.

At the beginning of this week, before Castro announced his retirement, another German daily, Berliner Kurier, kept the subject alive, without relating it directly with a plan to offer advice.

It said that Modrow had met Cuba’s National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon, among other leading politicians, and that everyone on the island asked about the transition and reforms.

Hans Modrow was prime minister of the GDR from December 1989 to March 1990.

He took office soon after the Berlin Wall fell Nov 9, 1989. In April 1990, he was succeeded by Lothar de Maiziere, elected head of the transition government that prepared the dissolution of the GDR and the reunification of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1999, he was elected a member to the European Parliament for the Party of Democratic Socialism, the post-communist group of which he became honorary president.

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