President Obama's Statement On Fidel Castro's Death Is One Of Friendship & Hope For Cuba


Cuba's former president of nearly fifty years, Fidel Castro, died on Friday according to a televised statement by his brother and current Cuban President, Raúl. World leaders have responded to Castro's death in varied ways, as Castro and his reign are among the most controversial in history. President Obama's statement on Fidel Castro's death, released by The White House Saturday morning, captures the complexity of the U.S.'s relationship to Cuba, as well as the people of Cuba's feelings about Castro.

President Obama's full statement reads as follows:

Cuban President Raul Castro (R) receives US President Barack Obama at the Gran Teatro of Havana where US President Barack Obama will deliver a speech in Havana, Cuba on March 22, 2016. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

In March of 2016, President Obama became the first sitting president since before World War II to travel to Cuba. The entire Obama family took a trip to Havana, where he met with Raúl Castro. Both leaders had been invested, throughout Obama's presidency, to restore relations between the two countries, which have been fraught with tensions for decades. Obama had intended to lift travel restrictions and the embargo on trade that's defined U.S.-Cuba relations for the better part of the 21st century.

With those tasks left incomplete and Obama's presidency nearly at its end, the fate of U.S.-Cuba relations lies in the hands of Obama's successor, Donald Trump. And with Raúl Castro expected to step down from the presidency in 2018, Trump may not make headway until a new leader comes to power.