Friday night, Raul Castro announced the death of his brother and longtime Cuban dictator, Fidel Casto. Castro was 90 years old at his time of death. The dictator came to power in 1959 after conducting an overthrow of military dictator Batista. Castro served as the president of Cuba for nearly five decades before giving power to his younger brother, Raul Castro in 2008. The death of Fidel Castro brought about many mixed reactions from leaders around the world as well as pundits and Cuban Americans. Below is a sample of the reactions from the aforementioned stakeholders.

The morning following the announcement of Castro’s death, President-Elect Trump sent out a tweet that read, “Castro is dead!” The four word tweet was credited by some sources to be “surprisingly simple.” The same Mashable article also noted that the tweet lackedelaboration, dramatic adjectives or usual insights into his blunt opinions” and left the writer feeling as though Trump “could have more to say on the passing of Castro.” The author’s suspicions proved to be valid as Trump released a full statement later in the day. Within the statement, Trump condemned Castro as a “brutal dictator.” Hee also added that it is his hope that Castro’s death “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.”

Several pundits noted the rhetoric of President Obama’s statement as being slightly different from the rhetoric observed in Trump’s statement. Obama’s statement opened with sympathies as he said, At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people.” The statement also recalled Obama’s efforts throughout his presidency to unite the two nations as he remarked, “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.” As many compared Obama and Trump’s statements, Brit Hume sent out a tweet that called Trump’s statement better due to the fact it did not “evade the truth.” Aside from pundits, political leaders also had opinions on Obama’s statement.

Following the release of President Obama’s statement, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida took to Twitter, critiquing the wording of the statement. Rubio sent out a tweet reading,President Obama issued a pathetic statement on death of dictator #FidelCastro with no mention of thousands he killed & imprisoned. #Cuba.”Following Rubio’s original critique of the President statement, the Senator sent out a number of tweets throughout the day that recalled Castro’s history as president. Senator Rubio also issued his own statement on the death of Castro, remarking that “history will remember Fidel Castro as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery & suffering on his own people.”  In his statement, Rubio acknowledged that “the dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not” while later discussing the future of the Cuban government.

Twitter saw Senator Rubio critique another world leader as Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau released his statement on Castro’s passing. The statement opened with Trudeau remarking that he learnt of the death of Castro with “deep sympathy.” Prime Minister Trudeau also credited Castro as a “larger than life leader.” To Trudeau’s words of condolences, Senator Rubio questioned “is this a real statement or a parody?” in a tweet quoting the Prime Minister’s statement.

Former 2016 United States Green Party candidate Jill Stein issued a sentence long tweet remembering Fidel Castro, writing “Fidel Castro was a symbol of the struggle for justice in the shadow of empire. Presente!” Following Stein’s tweet, political journalist and pundit Katie Pavlich sent out numerous tweets critiquing the former candidate’s praise of Castro. Pavlich originally called Stein’s tweet “abhorrent”, while later responding to the original tweet with condemnations of both the former dictator and Jill Stein.

In addition to Twitter takes on Castro’s death, thousands of Cuban Americans took to the streets in celebration in Little Havana, a neighborhood in Miami, Florida. Those partaking in celebrations were recorded saying, “this is a good death,” as well as statements expressing how long they had waited for the day to come.

The death of Fidel Castro triggered mixed reactions from countless world leaders, American pundits, as well as Cuban Americans. These stakeholders tried to make sense of not only the death, but Cuba’s past and future circumstances.

Alana B
FFL Contributor
Alana is an undergraduate student at Washington State University studying communications. She aspires to work in either journalism or communications and aims to empower young women to feel confident in sharing their political views. Her favorite things include Jesus, capitalism, politics, yoga, and traveling.

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