Germany's former communists hail Castro in birthday letter
The German Left Party hailed Fidel Castro and his socialist model in a letter sent to the Cuban leader to mark his 85th birthday, media reported on Saturday.
"You can look back proudly on your life of battles and successful action at the head of the Cuban revolution," Gesine Loetzsch and Klaus Ernst, leaders of the party which unites former communists of the defunct East Germany and leftists from the West, wrote in the letter.
"Under your direction, Cuba has remained faithful to its ideals and led a new social development ... Cuba was and is, for these reasons, a model and a reference point for many nations across the world," they said in the letter reproduced by the popular daily Bild and heavily criticised by rival parties.
"These people dream more about socialism than human rights or democracy, they have never distanced themselves from the worn-out concepts of the GDR," the official name of former East Germany, Elmar Brok of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union told Bild.
Fidel Castro, who handed power over to his brother Raul five years ago, celebrated his 85th birthday on August 13.
As Germany marked 50 years since the construction of the Berlin Wall last week, a Left Party youth magazine gave thanks on its front page to East Germany for having built what East Berlin then called the "anti-fascist protection wall" and "protecting peace in Europe".
© 2011 AFP