ABC News(NEW YORK) — President-elect Donald Trump was among the first major U.S. political figures to comment on former Cuban president Fidel Castro’s death.
On Saturday morning he tweeted simply, “Fidel Castro is dead!”
Fidel Castro is dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2016
Cuba will no doubt emerge as one of the first foreign policy tests of Trump’s administration. Experts have told ABC News that executive orders carried out by President Obama to normalize relations with the island country could be “easily reversed” if Trump were committed to do so.
At a Miami rally this September, Trump said that he would roll back Obama’s executive actions with regards to Cuba unless the Castro regime begins to recognize “religious and political freedom” and free political prisoners.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a former Republican presidential candidate, posted a short message on Facebook, writing: “Fidel Castro’s death cannot bring back his thousands of victims, nor can it bring comfort to their families. Today we remember them and honor the brave souls who fought the lonely fight against the brutal Communist dictatorship he imposed on Cuba.”
On Capitol Hill, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican representing a district in southern Florida, took to Facebook, saying: “Today, a tyrant is dead. Although his totalitarian dictatorship deeply scarred a once prosperous nation, his death ushers in a renewed hope that the Cuban people finally will be free.”
Calling for people to “work even harder toward achieving liberty, basic rights, and free, multi-party elections for the Cuban people,” Diaz-Balart took a shot at the Obama Administration, saying “shamefully, President Obama has spent the past eight years attempting to cede important leverage to the ailing Castro regime. Despite President Obama’s collaboration and betrayal of America’s longstanding mission to promote freedom, the American people continue their strong solidarity with the Cuban people in their struggle for free elections, human rights, and liberty.”
Diaz-Balart is reportedly related to Castro through marriage.
Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican representing a district in southern Florida, wrote on Twitter, “We must seize the moment and help write a new chapter in the history of #Cuba; that of a Cuba that is free, democratic, and prosperous…A tyrant is dead + a new beginning can dawn on the oppressed island of #Cuba.#Cuban ppl must b guaranteed #liberty, #democracy, #humanrights…Tyrant + thug #FidelCastro is dead. We must work for a #Cuba that is free, democratic, and prosperous…”
And her colleague, congressman Carlos Curbelo, also a Republican representing a southern Florida district, tweeted, “The passing of the dictator marks the end of a long, horrifying chapter in #Cuba’s history. The #Cuban people need our solidarity #Castro.”
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