After hundreds of Cubans took to the streets of Miami early Saturday to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro and U.S. politicians sounded off on his passing, President-elect Donald Trump initially had very little to say about it. “Fidel Castro is dead!” Trump wrote on Twitter hours after the news broke. He later issued a full statement marking the death of the “brutal dictator” who left behind “unimaginable suffering.” “While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today 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,” he said.
Other U.S. politicians had a lot to say about the momentous news. Florida Governor Rick Scott expressed hope for “the future of Cuba” after Castro’s death, saying “the news should usher in an era of freedom, peace and human dignity.” New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez echoed Scott’s comments, saying while Castro’s “oppressive legacy will haunt the Cuban regime,” Cubans today are now “one step closer to achieving freedom.” Senator Ted Cruz took a more solemn tone, saying Castro’s death “cannot bring back his thousands of victims, nor can it bring comfort to their families.” Senator Marco Rubio said Cubans should use Castro’s death as motivation to continue to fight for freedom. “The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not,” Rubio said. President Barack Obama, who sought to mend ties with Cuba during his term, offered his condolences to the Castro family in a statement. Saying the White House extends “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” after Castro’s death, Obama added that “history will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”