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Fidel Castro, 90

Fidel Castro, Cuba's communist dictator for decades, responsible for the murder of many thousands of his fellow citizens, is finally dead at the age of 90.

Donald Trump rightfully condemned Fidel Castro as a "brutal dictator" who murdered and oppressed his own people yesterday, in an apparent bid to undo President Obama's thawing of relations with Cuba.

The president-elect's statement on the dictator's death was a marked contrast from the reaction of Barack Obama, who has overseen a historic renewal of diplomatic ties with the Communist state.

"While Cuba 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," Mr. Trump said in a statement.

He added that the "deaths and pains caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased," vowing to help the Cuban people "begin their journey towards liberty and prosperity."

Donald Trump has previously threatened to reverse Obama's trade deal with Cuba unless it meets his demands to release some political prisoners and restore civil liberties.

Mr Obama's own statement on the death of Castro, at the age of 90, struck a markedly different tone, describing the Latin American dictator as a "singular figure" whose socialist policies had "an enormous impact on the world around him."

The Democratic president was widely praised for his efforts to heal divisions between the two countries after he became the first US president in eighty years to visit Cuba last March.

"We offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family," added his statement, which also said he "extended a hand of friendship to the Cuban people."

Across the rest of the world, Castro was showered with effusive praise by left-wing governments in France, Canada and neighbouring Venezuela who praised his revolutionary spirit. Francois Hollande, France's deeply unpopular socialist president, hailed Castro as a "towering figure in the 20th century" and called for the US trade embargo on Cuba to be lifted.

Castro's body will be cremated according to his wish and a funeral will be held on December 4, 2016.

The country is in a 9-day state of mourning starting today.

 

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Raymond J. Keating

Raymond J. Keating is the editor and publisher of the Keating Reports, which operates the Long Island Sentinel. He is a writer, commentator and economist, who wrote a column for Newsday for more than a decade, and is now a columnist with Long Island Business News and Dolan Media Company. The views expressed by Keating are strictly his own.