World leaders offered condolences and expressed their feelings over Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s death Saturday morning.
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.
Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.
While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante.”
I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”
Vladimir Putin sent a telegram to Raul Castro, hailing Fidel Castro as a “symbol of a whole era of modern world history.” The Russian President also said Fidel was “a wise and strong person” who was “an inspiring example for all countries and peoples” and a “sincere and reliable friend of Russia.”
Russia’s prime minister Dimitry Medvedev said, “Without exaggeration, a whole era of history is gone with Fidel Castro.”
Pope Francis sent a telegram to Raul Castro as well, which said, “Upon receiving the sad news of the passing of your beloved brother, the honorable Fidel Castro Ruz, former president of the state council and the government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sadness to your excellency and all family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as the government and the people in that beloved nation. At the same time, I offer my prayers for his eternal rest, and I entrust the Cuban people to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of La Caridad del Cobre, patroness of that country.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a telegram to Cuba that they were mourning a “dear comrade and true friend” of the Chinese people who made “immortal contributions to the development of socialism around the world.”
Donald J. Trump addressed Castro’s death with this simple tweet.
The President-elect followed it up with a full statement.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban-American voted into Congress and one of the first Republicans elected to the House in Florida, did not mince words about her feelings about Castro.
“The day that the people, both inside the island and out, have waited for has arrived: A tyrant is dead and a new beginning can dawn on the last remaining communist bastion of the Western hemisphere. The message is now very clear to those who think they will continue to misrule Cuba through oppression and fear. Enough is enough. The Cuban people have been shortchanged for too long to continue down this reviled path.
Those who still rule Cuba with an iron grip may attempt to delay the island’s liberation, but they cannot stop it. Castro’s successors cannot hide and must not be allowed to hide beneath cosmetic changes that will only lengthen the malaise of the Cuban nation. No regime, no matter who leads it, will have a shred of legitimacy if it has not been chosen by the people of Cuba in free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile, in an area outside of Miami, Florida known as “Little Havana,” Cuban-Americans were popping champagne and celebrating in the streets over the demise of the oppressive dictator.
Some people in the streets of Little Havana were waving Trump signs, which is not surprising since Cuban-Americans supported Trump at a higher rate (58%) than White American voters (56%).
Carlos Lopez told the Miami Herald, “We are not celebrating one man’s death, but the death of an ideology. We are celebrating that little piece of liberty we got back today.”