Cuban-American politicians Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) fired back at world leaders that praised communist leader Fidel Castro after the Cuban revolutionary’s death on Friday. Cruz and Rubio specifically called out President Barack Obama and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau for delivering sympathetic sentiments commemorating the Castro’s death. Both Cruz and Rubio have Cuban lineage and had no kind words for Castro and his family.
According to Huffington Post,Cruz’s parents fled Cuba after Cruz’s father participated in the early days of the Cuban revolution. Rubio, whose parents also emigrated from Cuba, expressed no remorse for the death of Castro and delivered blistering rebuttals to other world leaders’ comments in the days following Castro’s death.
“You’ll have to ask each of these individual leaders. Some of these people you’re talking about are people that have never had to live… near him, or anywhere around him or been impacted,” Rubio told CBS News on Saturday. “Others, quite frankly have anti-American sentiments and have always viewed Fidel Castro as a person who stood up to America.”
World leaders, including President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, delivered mixed sentiments in the days following Castro’s death. Trudeau released an official statement about Castro, stating, “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.”
Trudeau also acknowledged that Castro was a “controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante.” The Prime Minister went on to say that his father valued Castro as a friend. While Castro’s reputation as a leader is debatable, considering his numerous human rights violations and public conditions of the Cuban people, Trudeau offered kind words after Castro’s death.
In response, Cruz took to Twitter to say Trudeau’s comments were, “Disgraceful. Why do young socialists idolize totalitarian tyrants? Castro, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot — all evil, torturing murderers. #truth.” Cruz went on to tweet rebukes about the United States foreign policy relationship with Cuba, stating it was a “real danger that we will fall into the trap of thinking Fidel’s death represents material change in Cuba.”
There is a real danger that we will fall into the trap of thinking Fidel’s death represents material change in Cuba. https://t.co/GTgemd7EVU
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 27, 2016
World leaders such as Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Barack Obama, and Pope Francis delivered condolences concerning the death of Castro over the weekend. Rubio, apparently incensed by the sympathy for the Cuban dictator commented that “You’ll have to ask these leaders why they’re hypocrites. But I can tell you that he is not a heroic figure in any way.”
Rubio, in addition to critiquing Trudeau’s statement about Castro’s death, also came for President Obama and his statement about Castro’s passing. In his statement, President Obama said that the United States extends a “hand of friendship to the Cuban people” and commented that during his presidency he tried to heal relations between the United States and Cuba. “Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people,” Obama said in his official statement on Whitehouse.gov. “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.”
Shortly after Obama’s statement was released, Rubio came back with scathing opposition on Twitter, stating, “President Obama issued a pathetic statement on death of dictator #FidelCastro with no mention of thousands he killed & imprisoned. #Cuba.”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 26, 2016
Castro’s death and the impending presidency of Donald Trump has put the United States’ relationship with Cuba into question. During the Obama administration, trade embargoes with Cuba were lifted and Obama was the first president to visit Cuba since 1928. However, Trump may change the country’s relationship with Cuba, stating that he’s open to trade, “if our demands are met.”
Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother, remains the leader of Cuba. Both Rubio and Cruz caution the upcoming Trump administration to monitor Cuban-American relations with a close eye.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]