A trip by a contingent of South African MPs to the funeral of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been cancelled due to logistical problems, the African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament said on Friday.
“The decision to send the multi-party delegation was agreed upon at the National Assembly Programming Committee meeting yesterday [Thursday]. However, it became impossible to implement this decision due to the logistical difficulties associated with eleventh hour arrangements. Going ahead with the trip would have made it impossible for the Parliamentary delegation to arrive on time for the memorial service,” the ruling party said in a statement.
President Jacob Zuma delivered a eulogy for Castro on Tuesday, hailing the leader of the Cuban revolution as “one of the greatest revolutionaries of our time and one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century”.
Zuma spoke at a mass memorial rally in the Plaza de la Revolucion, in the capital city Havana.
The ANC said MPs would travel to Cuba to pay homage to Castro soon.
“Disappointing as the circumstances are, the Office of the ANC Chief Whip accepts and agrees with Parliament’s rational decision. Our thoughts remain with the people Cuba during this time of mourning, and we have no doubt that Parliament will, at an appropriate time officially pay its tribute to El Comandante Castro in Cuba.”
Castro, who led the socialist Cuba for decades, died aged 90 on November 25. His body was cremated the following day. Castro transferred power to his brother Raul in 1998 due to ill health.
The two brothers and Argentinian Che Guevara led the 1959 revolution and removed US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista from power.
The Cuban government declared nine days of national mourning which started from Monday, with a ceremony drawing thousands at Havana’s Revolution Square. The funeral procession bearing the ashes of Castro, began its journey on Wednesday from Havana to the resting place in Santiago de Cuba, where he first launched his revolutionary movement and claimed victory in 1959.
– African News Agency