Donald Trump condemned the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro on an otherwise quiet Saturday for the president-elect.
“The world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” Trump said in a statement issued hours after Castro’s death. “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”
Trump, who has pledged to roll back the Obama administration’s diplomatic opening to Cuba, said the nation remains “a totalitarian island,” but he hopes that Castro’s passing will mark “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.”
Noting support of anti-Castro Cuban Americans during the recent presidential election, Trump pledged to fight for a “free Cuba” during his administration.
“Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty,” Trump said in his statement.
Earlier in the morning, Trump marked the news with brief tweet: “Fidel Castro is dead!”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, tweeted that he called Trump to tell the president-elect that Florida “will help his administration to support a pro-democracy movement in Cuba.”
Trump also spoke with another Florida Republican, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, about Castro’s death. The mayor’s spokesman, Mike Hernandez, tweeted that Trump “expressed his support for and solidarity with the Cuban-American community.”
Otherwise, the president-elect spent a low-key Saturday at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump is expected to return to New York on Sunday.
Since arriving in South Florida early Tuesday, Trump named members of his Cabinet and White House staff, including foreign policy posts.
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SOURCE: USA Today, David Jackson