Presisdent and President-Elect React to News of Fidel Castro's Death

The Hollywood Reporter

Former President Fidel Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half century rule, died at age 90. Castro died eight years after ill health forced him to formally hand power over to his younger brother Raul, who announced his death late Friday on state television.

He survived long enough to see Raul Castro negotiate an opening with President Barack Obama in 2014, when Washington and Havana announced they would move to restore diplomatic ties for the first time since they were severed in 1961. He cautiously blessed the historic deal in a letter published after a month-long silence.

Cubans took to social media shortly after Castro's brother announced his death to share their reactions and their personal histories with the Cuban leader. Late Friday night, crowds took to the streets in Little Havana, Miami, yelling "Cuba libre!" and "Libertad!"

Read more: Cubans Flock to the Streets in Miami After News of Fidel Castro's Death

On Saturday morning, shortly after 8 a.m. ET, President-elect Donald Trump reacted to the news with a tweet that read, "Fidel Castro is dead!" During his presidential campaign, Trump had said he would reverse Obama's deal to reopen diplomatic relations unless the Cuban regime restores political freedoms and frees political prisoners.

Fidel Castro is dead!

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2016

He later released a full statement, calling Castro a "brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades." He said his legacy is one of "firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights."

Trump's statement continued: "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 his administration will do "all it can to ensure Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty" and ended his statement on the hope of "one day seeing a free Cuba."

Also on Saturday morning, President Obama released a statement on Castro's passing, addressing the powerful emotions his death brings for Cubans in Cuba and in the U.S.

"For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements," the statement reads. "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."

Read @POTUS's statement on the passing of Fidel Castro: https://t.co/ihVoLdqbRQ pic.twitter.com/sPZfvpeQVB

- The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 26, 2016

See other reactions from Hollywood on social media below.

I was born in Cuba and Fidel Castro was our leader. Came to the USA because of him.

- Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) November 26, 2016

Can't say I feel anything for his death. There is a reason many defected to USA

- Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) November 26, 2016

#FidelCastro dead at 90 #Cuba pic.twitter.com/wo6caxgNDY

- Daisy Fuentes (@DaisyFuentes) November 26, 2016

RIP to everyone's favorite television mom, Fidel Castro.

- billy eichner (@billyeichner) November 26, 2016

#BREAKING Grab your pots and pans, Miami. Fidel Castro is dead at 90.

- Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro has died. Beloved and despised. A symbol of resistance against western imperialist oppression and labeled an oppressor himself

- Lupe Fiasco (@LupeFiasco) November 26, 2016

Read more: Fidel Castro's Cuban Government: A Timeline