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Fidel Castro has supported the call for reparations
Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2001

( ABSTRACT BBC: ) African leaders at the international conference on racism in the South African city of Durban have agreed that the West must apologise for slavery and colonialism, but are still divided over the issue of reparations.

One of the speakers at the conference, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, has come out against reparations.

Mr Obasanjo told the delegates an apology would recognise the wrong that was committed against Africans and constitute a promise that such an atrocity would never happen again.

With an apology, "the issue of reparations ceases to be a rational option", he said during his formal address to the conference on Saturday morning.

But the President of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, said reparations were necessary to compensate for the horrors of the slave trade and colonialism.

Africans and people of African descent have noted that compensation is now being paid to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their descendents.

They are demanding the same kind of reparations for the descendents of those who were enslaved because they were black.

Reparations could come in the form of a cancellation of African debt and greater development aid, some African delegates hope.

Cuban President Fidel Castro has supported the call for reparations, saying that countries that made money through human trafficking could afford to pay.

"This is an unavoidable moral duty," Mr Castro said.

The Cuban leader criticised the US for lowering the level of its delegation at the conference because of the discussion of what he called Israeli genocide against Palestinians.

"(Nobody) has the right to set preconditions to the conference or urge it to avoid the discussion...(of) the way we decide to rate the dreadful genocide perpetrated, at this very moment, against our Palestinian brothers," Mr Castro said.

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