started to put his stamp on a more muscular foreign policy Saturday with a toughly-worded statement following the death of Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
The president-elect eschewed the diplomat-speak of President Barack Obama, who offered his condolences to the Castro family in an anodyne statement. Instead, Trump tore into the newly-deceased dictator
in perhaps the clearest example since this month’s election of the two men’s sharply different world views.
Castro, who established a communist regime in Cuba
that survived the collapse of the Soviet Union, inspired revolutionary movements and brought two superpowers close to nuclear war before stepping down after 49 years in power, died late Friday night local time. He was 90. His funeral will be held December 4. Crowds of exiled Cubans and their supporters gathered on the streets of Miami to celebrate the passing of a sometimes unyielding ruler who divided families and ruled with an iron fist. Havana, meanwhile, remained quiet, and in both countries it was unclear how Castro’s death will impact the detente that has developed in the past two years.
Trump said weeks before the November 8 president election that Obama has propped up Cuba
economically and politically “in exchange for nothing,” and said that if elected he wanted to cut a better deal both for the Cuban people and the US.
Trump’s reaction started early Saturday with a seemingly celebratory tweet — “Fidel Castro
is dead!” — to his 16 million Twitter followers.
A formal statement followed, blasting Castro. “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said. Still, Trump didn’t repeat a vow made during the campaign to reverse Obama’s normalisation process, saying that his administration will “do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.”
It’s unclear what that means in terms of potential policy, however, and the Trump campaign didn’t offer any additional clarity.
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,” Trump said.