Obama offers condolences to Castro family

Obama offers condolences to Castro family
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President Obama on Saturday expressed his condolences over the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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In a statement, the president emphasized the renewed relationship between the two countries but steered clear of making any judgments about the controversial dictator’s legacy.

“Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people,” Obama said in the statement. 

“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.”

The president oversaw the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and was the first sitting president to visit the island nation since 1928.

Many conservatives, including President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE, have been critical of Obama’s efforts to extend an olive branch to the longtime U.S. adversary, though it is unclear whether the moves will be reversed under the new administration.

The president took pains to avoid praising or criticizing Castro in his statement and instead directed his remarks to the Cuban people.

“We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” he said. 

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