President-elect Donald Trump called now deceased former Cuban president Fidel Castro a “brutal dictator” whose legacy represents decades of death and oppression.
That’s a stark contrast from President Barack Obama’s statement on the passing of the long-time Cuban overlord.
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” Trump said in a statement released on the news of Castro’s death Saturday.
“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said.
“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 said.
“Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty,” Trump said. “I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”
Trump won overwhelming support from Cuban-Americans during the 2016 election for his opposition to Obama’s normalization of relations with the Castro regime.
Obama’s statement on Castro’s passing was one of sorrow and arguably obscured Castro’s record of oppression and murder.
“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,” Obama said in a statement put out by the White House.
“History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” Obama said.
“For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements,” he said. “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.”
Castro passed away at the age of 90 after years of being in poor health. Castro came to power in 1959 as part of a communist revolution and only stepped aside in 2006. Castro’s brother Raul now runs things in Cuba.
Castro is blamed for killing thousands of people during his rise to power in the late 1950s. The Cuba Archive Project documented more than 9,200 people who were killed by the Castro regime, while the group’s president says as many as 78,000 were killed trying to flee Castro’s communism.