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Politician's Reaction To Death Of Fidel Castro

HAVANA (AP) -- The death of Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro was announced early Saturday morning.

Since then many politicians have reacted to the news.

President Barack Obama:

President Barack Obama says the United States is extending "a hand of friendship to the Cuban people" at the time of Fidel Castro's death.

Obama says in a statement that "history will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him."

The U.S. president notes that "discord and profound political disagreements" marked the relationship between the United States and Cuba for nearly six decades, and says he has "worked hard to put the past behind us."

Obama says that in the coming days, Cubans "will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner" in America.

President-elect Donald Trump:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has gone on Twitter to react to the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In a short burst, he says: "Fidel Castro is dead!"

Donald Trump is sparing no words when it comes to Fidel Castro.

The U.S. president-elect calls the former Cuban leader "a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades."

Trump says Castro leaves a legacy of "firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights."

But Trump also is looking ahead.

He says that while Cuba "remains a totalitarian island," he hopes 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."

Trump says his administration will do all it can "to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty," and he says he's joining many Cuban-Americans in the hope "of one day seeing a free Cuba."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is offering his condolences to the Cuban people and the family of Fidel Castro over the death of the island's longtime leader.

Ban says that "at this time of national mourning, I offer the support of the United Nations to work alongside the people of the island."

He says that under Castro, Cuba made advances in the fields of education, literacy and health, adding that he hopes "Cuba will continue to advance on a path of reform and greater prosperity."

Ban recalled that he met with Castro in January 2014. He described it as "a lively discussion that covered developments around the world as well as sustainable development and climate change."

House Speaker Paul Ryan:

The top Republican in the U.S. House says that with Fidel Castro's death, "the cruelty and oppression of his regime should die with him."

House Speaker Paul Ryan says that there is much left to do to bring freedom of the Cuban people and that the United States "must be fully committed to that work."

Ryan adds that Castro's passing is a time to "reflect on the memory and sacrifices of all those who have suffered under the Castros."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is citing what he calls the "outsized role" that Fidel Castro played in the lives of Cuban people, and says Castro "influenced the direction of regional, even global affairs."

But Kerry also is looking to the future, and not back at the past.

America's top diplomat says that as the United States and Cuba move ahead on the process of normalizing relations, "we do so in a spirit of friendship and with an earnest desire not to ignore history but to write a new and better future for our two peoples."

He says the U.S. is committed to "deepening our engagement with the Cuban people now and in coming years."

(TM and © Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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