Abbott lines up to condemn Castro fans

Abbott lines up to condemn Castro fans

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has joined some of his Liberal colleagues calling for Labor and Greens MPs to explain their displays of support for “murderous” former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who died last week.

Mr Abbott echoed senators Eric Abetz and James Paterson in slamming Labor senator Kim Carr, former Labor MP Steve Georganas and NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, who expressed condolences for the “extraordinary” figure who “liberated” Cuba from corruption and exploitation.

Castro died on Friday aged 90. His brother, president Raul Castro, announced his death on Cuban TV. “People who want to be taken seriously shouldn’t gush about murderous dictators,” Mr Abbott said.

“Especially if they are only too ready to be judgmental about lesser crimes by their political foes.” Senator Carr tweeted: “Vale Fidel Castro, extraordinary 20thcentury figure, survived 50-year embargo and 638 CIA-attempts on life using ex-lovers and Mafia gangsters.” Senator Rhiannon wrote Castro “liberated Cuba from corruption, exploitation. From opposing Apartheid to bringing healthcare to the Third World he inspired so many.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told a journalist about his own trip to Cuba, saying he heard Castro give an “amazing” speech. But Senator Abetz said yesterday: “Fidel Castro was a communist tyrant, responsible for the execution of thousands of political dissidents as well as people who didn’t happen to share his world view.

“It is beyond belief that Mr Shorten tolerates Kim Carr’s ongoing sycophancy to brutal communist regimes. Similarly, one wonders how the Australian Greens have decided to also praise a man who oversaw a dictatorial regime that rejected free speech, destroyed an economy, which sentenced thousands to extreme poverty, and killed people for their sexuality.”

Senator Paterson said Castro had many victims, including gay people and journalists. “Fidel Castro was a brutal dictator. He impoverished the people of Cuba, violently repressed those who resisted his rule, and prevented his own citizens from fleeing his terror,” he said.

“His victims included gay men, political dissidents, journalists and their families. “It’s particularly galling to see so-called advocates of human rights venerate one of the 20th century’s worst human-rights abusers.” A spokesman for Greens Leader Richard Di Natale declined to comment.

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