Spain calls Castro’s resignation as ‘great news’

February 19th, 2008 - 7:45 pm ICT by admin  

Madrid, Feb 19 (DPA) Spain’s governing Socialist Party Tuesday described the resignation of Cuban leader Fidel Castro as “great news” if it led to a “democratic opening.” Castro, 81, who has led Cuba since 1959, Tuesday renounced his presidency and military leadership after more than a year of illness and absence from the job.

“From Spain, we will work for that to happen,” said Jose Blanco, organizational secretary of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist Party.

Trinidad Jimenez, secretary of state for Ibero-American affairs, said Castro’s resignation might help acting president Raul Castro to carry out the reforms he has announced.

Conservative opposition leader Mariano Rajoy welcomed Castro’s resignation, describing the Cuban regime as an “anachronism” because there were no longer Communist regimes in the world.

Sweden also hailed Castro’s decision not to cling to power any more.

“Castro’s resignation marks the end of an era that began with high hopes but ended in oppression,” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a statement Tuesday.

Bildt said that while the leadership shift to Castro’s younger brother Raul would “not lead to any immediate changes, we hope that the move to democracy will begin.”

The Swedish foreign minister also said that the people of Cuba “have the same right to freedom and democracy as all other peoples,” adding that he hoped for new possibilities for cooperation between Cuba and the global community.

A year ago, Bildt criticized human rights violations in Cuba at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The remarks sparked an angry rebuttal by Cuba’s UN ambassador who accused Sweden of being “engaged in ethnic cleansing.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |