The Belgian leader warns that the true nature of Mr Castro's role should be appreciated. For some he was a hero, for others a dictator: for some Cubans and the international community he is seen as the man who limited economic and political freedom in his country: "His life forms an important warning for future generations highlighting the harsh ramifications for ordinary people when a country drops out on the international order" Mr Michel indicated.
Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders notes that an important page in world history has been turned, while privy councillor and former Belgian foreign minister Mark Eyskens speaks of the "intellectual" Castro: "This was a guy who had gone to school. He wasn't only a left-wing intellectual who held long speeches about a better and ideal world, but that is also what he tried to achieve. He also used a lot of violence to achieve this end. He allowed a lot of blood to flow, something that he himself acknowledged".
Mark Eyskens: “He was very straightforward. He introduced numerous social reforms in education and healthcare. The only way to rid the country of the dreadful Batista dictatorship was violence. Democratic elections were not an option.”
Former Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel believes the West's economic embargo against Cuba became a means of perpetuating the Communist system: "We handed him the stick to refuse to change"