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Death of Castro
Statement by President Obama on the Passing of Fidel Castro
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 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.
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.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he thinks President-elect Donald Trump will make rolling back concessions to the Castro regime a top priority during his presidency.
“Al of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them,” Trump said during a Miami rally in September. “And that I will do, unless the Castro regime meets our demands – not my demands, our demands.”
Rubio on Sunday called Castro’s death a “historical” and “psychological” milestone for many people.
But he noted that “from a practical standpoint, Cuba today is governed exactly the same way as it was 48 hours ago.”
Rubio said he wants to look at all the changes that were made regarding the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.
“Our goal is not to punish. Our goal is to figure out what can we do, through U.S. policy, to, number one, look out for the national interest of the United States,” he said.
“And number two, to help create an environment where we are creating the potential for a transition to democratic order in Cuba at some point in the near future.”
Rubio offered that he never said he is against “all changes to Cuba policy.”
“I’m just against unilateral changes from which we get nothing in return for our country or for the freedom or liberty of the Cuban people,” he said.
Appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said he doubts there will be a new chapter in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba because President Obama’s policies have strengthened the regime in Havana.
“Unfortunately, the policies of the Obama administration have made that less likely. What the Obama administration has done is strengthen Raul Castro.”
Cruz, who is of Cuban descent, referenced a conversation with his father about the death of Fidel.
“He shrugged and said Raul’s been in charge for years, that (the) system has gotten stronger. And what Obama has done is funneled billions of dollars to Raul Castro, which is being used to oppress dissidents.
“And for a man who has tortured and murdered and oppressed, for so many, it is thankful that he is no longer with us,” Cruz said.
“I very much hope” Obama does not attend Castro’s funeral, he added.
President-elect Donald Trump:
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castrol’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said in a 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,” he added.
Castro’s death was announced early Saturday by his brother Raul.
“It is with great pain I come to inform our country, friends of our America, and the world that today, Nov. 25, 2016 at 10:29 p.m., the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died.”
[Sources: whitehouse.gov; The Hill]
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