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Russian diplomat: As 90th Birthday nears, Fidel Castro’s iconic legacy far from faint echo

August 12, 2016, 19:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Fidel Castro marks his 90th birthday on August 13

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Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

© Anatoly Morkovkin/Fotokhronika TASS

MOSCOW, August 12. /TASS/. Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution is an iconic figure in the world history whose legacy still remains not fully understood, a top-ranking Russian Foreign Ministry official said on Friday, on the eve of the legendary Comandante’s 90th birthday.

"He is an outstanding political leader of the 20th and 21st centuries. He is an iconic figure of world politics who, and it will not be an exaggeration to say this, has strongly impacted global politics for over half a century and whose heritage is yet to be appreciated," Alexander Shchetinin, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin America department, told TASS.

"We are gearing up for his anniversary reverently and respectfully. We fully understand the mood Cuba would like to convey for this event," he said.

"In the following weeks, we will speak about Fidel Castro and his place in today’s world of politics. We will speak about the man, his politics, and his historical era," he said.

According to the Russian diplomat, the ministry jointly with the Russia-Cuba Friendship Society will arrange a series of events. "They will be held after the anniversary period. We decided to organize then somewhat later, after the summer vacation period," Shchetinin said. "And when our target audiences return from their summer holidays, in September, we will organize these events to exchange views and dwell on Fidel Castro’s role in global politics, on what he has done for Cuba and the world in general. And, indeed, it is a huge legacy."

On current relations with Cuba

"True, our ties are growing, and are based on positive decades-long traditions, on mutual understanding that has existed between our countries," the Russian diplomat explained. "Apparently, we have managed to find the right mood which has broadened our horizons on promoting cooperation."

"First of all, it is political cooperation," he noted. "We closely cooperate within the United Nations, and in other international organizations, with Latin American integration. Major progress has been reached in the area of trade-and-economic cooperation."

He cited major contracts and agreements on Russian credit financing, on the modernization of Cuba’s electricity supplies and transport systems, on supplies of railway machinery. "And I think that’s not all," Schchetinin said. "We have very good plans. Negotiations are being conducted in a positive atmosphere and are geared towards concrete results."

"Another major area is humanitarian cooperation, encouraging the study of the Russian language on the Caribbean island and training Cuban specialists in Russia," he said. "This cooperation is expanding, which is also an upbeat trend. Our cooperation is based on mutual benefit, with a clear vision of its financial component. It is right because it is in Russia’s and Cuba’s mutual interests.".

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