The White House announced Monday neither President Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden would travel to Havana for the funeral of Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. Similarly, it was revealed Washington would not send an official delegation for the event.
In lieu of an official mission, the White House later admitted it would dispatch the top representative in Havana, chargé d’affaires Jeffrey DeLaurentis, and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to attend services.
Castro, the long-time communist dictator, died in Havana on Friday, Nov. 25 at the age of 90.
Describing the White House’s rationale for sending representatives to Havana for Castro’s funeral service, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said:
“We believe this an appropriate way for the U.S. to show our commitment to an ongoing future-oriented relationship with the Cuban people, and this was an appropriate way to show respect to participate in the events that are planned for this evening while also acknowledging some of the differences that remain between our two countries.”
President Obama has been assailed for his response to Castro’s death. Some, including many Cuban-Americans, considered the White House statement perilously close to offering praise to Castro, considered by many to be a despot.
“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,” read part of Mr. Obama’s statement released on Saturday, Nov. 26.
Some GOP lawmakers, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, himself of Cuban descent and the son of parents who fled Castro’s terror, upbraided Mr. Obama for his statements and urged the president not to send a delegation to Castro’s funeral service.
[The Guardian] [Photo courtesy Jorge Rey/Getty Images via Breitbart]