Obama makes statement on the death of Fidel Castro

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — President Barack Obama, who on Dec. 17, 2014, announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba for the first time since they were severed in 1961, released a statement Saturday about the death of that country’s longtime dictator, Fidel Castro.

In his statement, Obama expressed his condolences to the family of Castro while acknowledging the ways in which Castro’s regime altered the course of countless lives, for better or worse.

“History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” Obama said.

The president also took advantage of the opportunity once more to reaffirm his position the US and Cuba should continue diplomatic relations.

“During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity,” he said.

He continued his statement by also acknowledging the part that Cubans have played in American history.

“This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba,” he said.

He concluded by saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they 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 the United States of America.”

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