President Barack Obama is offering “condolences” to the family in the wake of the death of longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. “At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said, noting that many Cubans and Cuban Americans had “powerful emotions” about the dictator’s death. Obama did not mention Castro’s evil dictatorship, his suppression of human rights, or the brutal oppression and murder of millions of Cuban citizens in his statement. Instead he noted that the relationship between Cuba and the United States was “marked by discord and profound disagreements.”
“Regardless of what one may think of Fidel Castro as a politician, soldier and revolutionary, it is an undeniable fact that he was and always will be one of the greatest and most iconic leaders of all times, and the 20th century in particular,” Obama said, with a notable shaking in his voice. “I must add that, political and other differences aside, on a certain level I can’t help but admire the fact that the same people he enslaved and whose lives he ruined still, even in his death, consider him to be their father and their shepherd. That is a fact I simply cannot comprehend, and in my mind, that is a phenomenon the likes of which I have not yet witnessed in all of my years on this planet.”
“During my time as President of the United States, I have done my absolute best to be worthy of the historical role I have been assigned to play,” he continued. “Whether or not I have done my part adequately is not for me to judge; that difficult job lies on the generations that follow and the generations that will succeed them. However, I cannot help but recognize that Americans, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or gender, all have mixed feelings about the many leaders of this country, of which group I am proud to call myself a member.”
He added, “At the same time, I must admit that I am slightly jealous of the love and admiration Fidel Castro enjoyed among Cubans around the world, but not envious. And while the reason for such worship is beyond anything I could ever comprehend as a man of diametrically opposite upbringing and life experiences, I am still fascinated by the fact that that man, whom we today refer to as a dictator and oppressionist, remains a hero in the hearts of Cubans of both the past and present. Moreover, since it’s safe to say America has elected Castro’s equal in its succeeding president, embodied by Donald Trump, it remains to be seen what history will make of this.”
“And whatever the history books say about Donald Trump many years from now, I can only hope that I will be honored with the love of my fellow Americans in at least a fraction of what the Cuban nation bestows upon its leader, Fidel Castro,” the president said. “It is my sincere wish that history remembers me as being at least half the leader Fidel was; not because I wish to matter to my people, but because revolutions aren’t always led solely by arms. Sometimes, they’re lead with legalizing same-sex marriage,” he concluded.