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President Obama on Castro: 'We extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people'

FILE - In this March 21, 2016 file photo, Cuban President Raul Castro, right, lifts up the arm of President Barack Obama at the conclusion of their joint news conference at the Palace of the Revolution, in Havana, Cuba. Donald Trump’s pledge to undo Obama’s detente with Cuba is provoking widespread anxiety among ordinary Cubans, who were paying little attention to the U.S. presidential campaign until now. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

President Obama has issued a statement on the recent death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who died Friday night.

"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," Obama says in his statement.


It was under the Obama administration that full diplomatic ties were restored between Cuba and the United States for the first time since 1961.

"The Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America," Obama says.

The full statement can be read below.

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship 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. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. 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. 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.
Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family, and 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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