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Obama, Trump react to Fidel Castro’s death

WASHINGTON — After the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Friday, several United States politicians reacted to the news, including President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump.

In a statement released by the White House on Saturday morning, President Obama offered condolences to the his family and extending an arm of friendship to the Cuban people.

“During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends — bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity,” Obama said, highlighting his efforts to mend US-Cuba relations during the course of his presidency.

“We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States- – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” the statement said. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

The president added, “Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”

Trump also reacted Saturday to the death of the controversial Cuban leader.

“Fidel Castro is dead!” Trump tweeted on the news of the 90-year-old’s death.

A few hours later, his presidential transition team issued a longer statement calling it “the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.”

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Mr. Trump said in the statement. “While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”

Trump also promised that his administration “will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.”

Other politicians had harsher reactions to Castro’s death, like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American.

The Republican called Castro an “evil murderous dictator” who turned Cuba into “an impoverished island prison.”