MEXICO CITY, Nov. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Latin American leaders on Thursday
expressed their condolences over the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat,
who died earlier in the day at a French military hospital outside Paris.
Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz said he was in "deep sorrow" as he heard the news of
"At the moment of sadness, I am reminded of the lasting memories of meeting
Comrade Arafat, a dear friend that I held along three decades," said the Cuban
leader in a message sent to Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Rawhi
Castro also pledged Cuba's solidarity with and firm support forthe just
cause of the Palestinian people. The Cuban government has declared a three-day
official mourning for Arafat.
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva praised Arafat as"a
historical leader of the Palestinian people's struggle for self-determination
and independence," said a statement issued by the Brazilian government
"The Brazilian government reaffirms its support for the creation of a free
and sovereign Palestinian state and the construction of a future of peace and
prosperity in the Middle East."
Lula sent a top-level representative to attend Arafat's funeralscheduled
for Friday in Cairo, said sources of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.
In Mexico, the government, while expressing its condolences to the
Palestinian people, reaffirmed its support for the creation ofan independent
Palestinian state through peaceful means, said a statement of the Mexican
In Santiago, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar told reporters that
Arafat "symbolized the desire of a people to forge its own destiny, the desire
of the Palestinian people to have their own state with clearly established
He also said he trusted the Palestinian authorities will continue its peace
efforts in accordance with the principles of the international law.
In Venezuela, Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel praised Arafatas "a hero
of our times, an exemplary patriot," saying Arafat's death was a great loss for
the world progressive forces.
Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner sent his
condolences Thursday to the Palestinian people through an official message,
calling on all the parties involved in the Middle East conflict to spare no
efforts to achieve peace through "dialogue and negotiation."
In Bogota, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe sent a condolence message to
Fattouh, saying "Colombia joins the recognition of the commitment and leadership
of President Arafat with the Palestiniannation, the establishment of a sovereign
state and the re-establishment of peace in the Middle East."
Also on Thursday, Nicaraguan President Enrique Nicolas Bolanos Geyer
lamented Arafat's passing away and wished peace and prosperity for the
Palestinian people, said a message sent to Fattouh.
Panamanian President Martin Torrijos Espino praised Arafat as "a historical
Palestinian leader" and "one of the most understanding leaders of the present
time," said a message sent tothe Palestinian National Authority and the
Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Also on Thursday, leaders of Bolivia, Uruguaya, Costa Rica and Guatemala
joined the lament over Arafat's death. Enditem