Obama: Cubans have ‘friend and partner’ in the US

President Barack Obama gives a speech on the White House lawn Friday, June 13, 2014.

President Barack Obama gives a speech on the White House lawn Friday, June 13, 2014.

(CNN) — President Barack Obama reacted Saturday, Nov. 26, to the death of Fidel Castro, saying his prayers are with the Cuban people and that they should know they have a “friend and partner” in the United States.

“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”

The President noted that the relationship between the United States and Cuba has been “marked by discord and profound political disagreements” over the past 60 years.

“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,” he said.

“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.”