President Obama, Donald Trump Issue Very Different Statements on Fidel Castro

Obama offers “condolences to Fidel Castro’s family,” Trump calls Cuban leader “brutal dictator”

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump issued very different statements about the death of Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.

“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said in his statement.

“Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people,” he continued. “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, meanwhile, took a different approach.

“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” Trump said. “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,” he said.

Castro died on Friday night at age 90. He was president of Cuba from 1976 to 2008, when he stepped down to allow his brother to take power. He was previously prime minister from the Communist revolution in 1959 to 1976.

President Obama ended five decades of frozen U.S.-Cuba relations two years ago, reestablishing diplomatic relations with the Communist island. A 56-year economic embargo that has crippled Cuba financially remains in place.

Read both Trump and Obama’s statements in their entirety below.