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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Qatar leaders extend condolences after Fidel Castro dies


Former Cuban President Fidel Castro
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro

Qatar’s Emir, Deputy Emir and Prime Minister have sent cables of condolences to the Cuban president following the death of his brother, former head Fidel Castro.

Castro ruled Cuba for nearly 50 years until his brother took over in 2008.

The 90-year leader of the Cuban revolution has long been a controversial figure.

According to Al Jazeera, many in Havana expressed sadness at his demise yesterday, while exiled Cubans in Florida celebrated with champagne.

Qatar sympathies

Condolences were sent today to Raúl Castro from Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Deputy Emir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani, QNA reported.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, also extended his sympathies, the news agency added.

Meanwhile, the embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Qatar joined the hashtags #PorSiempreFidel (Forever Fidel) and #HastaLaVictoriaSiempre (To victory, always) to tweet messages mourning the death of the former leader.

Translation: #ForeverFidel, for more than 60 years you multiplied in every child and man (a desire) to dream and fight for a better world.

The Doha mission also issued an official message to Raúl Castro, expressing “anguish and sadness” over his brother’s death.

Praising Fidel Castro for fighting for social justice for all, the embassy concluded, “your example and beautiful ideals will live on eternally in our hearts.”

Growing ties

Qatar and Cuba established diplomatic relations in 1994, when Cuba opened an embassy in Doha.

However, it was another seven years until Qatar opened its mission in Havana, in 2001.

That same year, Fidel Castro made his first visit to Qatar as part of a short regional tour.

He met with the then-Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and visited Ras Laffan.

The Cuban Hospital
The Cuban Hospital

Since then, relations between Qatar and Cuba have been growing stronger.

More than 400 Cuban medical professionals work at the Cuban Hospital in Dukhan, which is part of the state-run Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC).

The staff operates under an agreement between the governments of Qatar and Cuba.

Following a state visit to Cuba last November, Qatar’s Emir signed a number of agreements with the current president.

This included a commitment to invest $2 billion in the country over the next five years.

Qatar's Emir and Cuba's foreign minister in Doha last week
Qatar’s Emir and Cuba’s foreign minister in Doha in 2015.

And just last week, Cuba’s foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla met with the Emir in Doha to discuss developing their countries’ relationship, particularly in economy and investment, QNA reported.

During the visit, Parrilla also went to the Cuban Hospital and met with staff there, according to the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations.


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