An image of Fidel Castro and a Cuban flag are displayed in honor of the late leader one day after he died, inside the foreign ministry in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 26, 2016.
VOA News Nov. 26, 2016,WASHINGTON — After the death of Fidel Castro, several U.S. and world leaders weighed in with condolences and their thoughts on the Cuban dictator, his years in power and his legacy.
President Barack Obama, who resumed diplomatic relations with Cuba and became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island, released this statement:
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.
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 – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.
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.
Other world leaders also spoke out:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered the support of the U.N. to the people of Cuba during spoken remarks at a sustainable transportation conference in Turkmenistan.
“Under the former President Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education, literacy and health. I hope that Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform and greater prosperity,” Ban said.
Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, said he spoke to Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, to convey solidarity with the Cubans.
Spanish President Mariano Rajoy Brey gave his condolences to Cuba and called Castro “a figure of historical significance.”
Similarly, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Castro “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century.”