While hundreds of Cuban-Americans flooded the streets of Miami to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro, who defied the United States for nearly half a century, President Barack Obama took a different approach, by sending condolences to the former revolutionary leader’s family.
“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. 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. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” he said in a statement.
“For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. 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. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.
“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,” the statement read.,
As previously reported, Castro, who famously survived numerous assassination attempts by both the CIA and anti-Castro exiles had been suffering from declining health for several years. The communist dictator known for bringing the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959, surrendered his power to his younger brother, Raul Castro, due to an intestinal illness nearly eight years ago. In February 2008, Castro officially resigned as president and Raul took over permanently. On Friday, Nov. 25, Raul announced his brother’s death on Cuban television. He was 90.