While the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro prompted cheers from the country’s exiles in Miami, the 90-year-old revolutionary leader’s passing produced expressions of respect in other parts of the world and measured responses from governments that have seen the devoted socialist as a threat.
President Obama noted that while “discord and profound political disagreements” marked the relationship between the United States and Cuba for nearly six decades, Americans were extending “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” during their time of grief.
“History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” Obama said.
While spending the Thanksgiving weekend in Florida, where the announcement of Castro’s death early Saturday brought Cuban exiles into the streets to celebrate, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to share a thought that proved pithy even for the medium: “Fidel Castro is dead!”
Elsewhere in world, Castro was honored and mourned by many present and former national leaders.
In a telegram to Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel’s 85-year-old brother, Pope Francis offered “my sense of grief to your excellency and family.”
Francis broke from the Vatican’s usual practice of having the Vatican’s secretary of state send official condolences. In a mark of the esteem the pope held for Castro, whom he met during a visit to Cuba last year, Francis signed the telegram himself.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country was Cuba’s main ally and supporter during the Soviet era, called Castro “a sincere and reliable friend of Russia” who had built “an inspiring example for many countries and nations.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping said Castro “made immortal historical contributions to the development of socialism around the world.”
“With his death, the Chinese people have lost a close comrade and a sincere friend,” Xi said in a telegram to Raul Castro, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. “His glorious image and great achievements will be recorded in history forever.” (Reuters)