World leaders have offered their condolences and personal obits for former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who died on Saturday. Now President Obama is chiming in, saying through a statement the U.S. will “extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people.”
While some of the condolences from around the globe were tributes to Castro, the statement from President Obama seemed to be directed more towards the people of Cuba. Obama said Castro altered many Cubans lives and offers them a helping hand:
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.
Obama went on the discuss the contentious relationship the two countries have shared for the past 60 years. It was only recently, under the Obama administration, that relations were restored between the two, and the president was quick to point out it was not always a smooth ride:
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…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 Unite States of America.
It was a carefully crafted statement that offers condolences while also highlighting the tense relationship between the two countries. It’s a stark contrast to president-elect Donald Trumps response, who may have just woken up before tweeting about Castro.
(Via ABC News)