Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

How Donald Trump, other leaders responded to Fidel Castro's death

It took just four words for President-elect Donald Trump to sum up his thoughts on the death of Fidel Castro:

"Fidel Castro is dead!"

Castro, who embraced Soviet-style communism during his half century rule of Cuba, died at the age of 90 late Friday night. Trump weighed in on Twitter about the longtime leader's death early Saturday morning.

Later Saturday morning, Trump released a longer statement calling Castro a "brutal dictator" and pledging to fight for a "free Cuba" during his administration.

Here is Trump's full statement:

"Today, the world marks 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.

"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.

"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. 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's statement stood in strong contrast with the words of President Obama, who offered his condolences to Castro's family and said history would judge his impact on Cuba.

"At this time of Fidel Castro's passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people," Obama said in a statement. "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him."

Here is Obama's full statement:

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.

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.

Trump has vowed to roll back President Obama's efforts to open relations with Cuba, calling his plans "one-sided" and saying he'd reverse course "unless the Castro regime meets our demands - not my demands, our demands."

Newsweek reported during the campaign that Trump knowingly violated the U.S. embargo of Cuba, reporting he spent $68,000 to send business consultants to Cuba during a 1998 "foray" into Cuba.

"I never went to Cuba. I've never been to Cuba. I never did business with Cuba," Trump said during the presidential campaign. "There's nothing else to say. I never did business in Cuba. I'd tell you very openly if I did. I was not involved in doing business in Cuba."

Here's how other leaders, both globally and here in the United States, reacted to the news of Castro's passing.

Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cuban president Raul Castro, writing, "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."

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed Castro as "symbol of a whole era of modern world history" saying he was "a wise and strong person" who was "an inspiring example for all countries and peoples" and a "sincere and reliable friend of Russia."

Francois Hollande, the president of France, said in a statement, "Fidel Castro was a major figure of the XXth century. He embodied the Cuban revolution, in the hopes it aroused and the disappointments it provoked. Actor of the Cold War, he represented a period of history that ended with the fall of the Soviet Union. He represented, for Cubans, pride in rejecting external domination."

Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, said in a statement, "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."

Other world leaders took to Twitter to offer their thoughts on Castro's passing.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Castro was a friend of Mexico, and promotion relations between the two countries based on "respect, dialogue and solidarity."

Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, wrote that "a great has left us. Fidel has died. Long live Cuba! Long live Latin America!":

Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, offered condolences following the announcement, writing that Castro led Cuba with "dignity and social justice":

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India:

Rashtrapati Bhavan, president of India:

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union:

Cecilia Malmström, European commissioner for trade for the European Union:

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party:

Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR:

Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Ayatollah and supreme leader of Iran: