On Friday, the current President of Cuba, Raul Castro, announced that his brother, the former brutal dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro, had died at the age of 90. Following the news of the death of the communist ruler, leaders from around the world issued statements about the now deceased Castro. The words used to describe and react to his death were radically different, with some praising the communist leader as a “revolutionary” and others acknowledging that the man was a despot who suppressed and killed the Cuban people for over four decades.
As news broke of Castro’s death, President-elect Donald Trump first tweeted out a simple statement that read “Fidel Castro is dead!”
On Saturday, he released a far more lengthy statement about the former Cuban leader, where he acknowledged the oppression and brutality Castro inflicted on his people.
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” the statement read. “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.”
On the contrary, current President of the United States, Barack Obama, who has pushed for and successfully lifted U.S. sanctions on the communist country despite their continuation of poor treatment of citizens, released a statement that was far kinder to the dictator and managed to ignore his overbearing way.
“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,” President Obama’s statement began.
Obama also commented on his diplomacy with the communist country, saying that during his Presidency, they “worked hard to put the past behind us” and pursued “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.”
The statement concluded with Obama stating: “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.”
President Obama’s response garnered a lot of criticism on Twitter:
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau also raised eyebrows with his praise and positive remarks in a statement calling the former Cuban leader a “legendary revolutionary and orator.”
The Associated Press reported that Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, praised the leader of the Soviet ally, Cuba.
“The name of this distinguished statesman is rightly considered the symbol of an era in modern world history,” Putin said in a telegram to Raul Castro, Fidel’s younger brother. “Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.”
According to the Associated Press, fellow communist leader, Chinese President Xi Jinping, praised Castro on a state broadcasted CCTV for his “development of socialism around the world.”
“With his death, the Chinese people have lost a close comrade and a sincere friend. His glorious image and great achievements will be recorded in history forever,” Jinping added.