Speed Reads

World Reactions

World leaders, Havana, Cuban expats react to Castro's death with joy and grief alike

The death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro sparked widely divergent reactions Saturday as news spread of the aged communist's demise. Russian President Vladimir Putin called Castro an "inspiring example for many countries," while Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, praised Castro's resilience in the face of "the harshest American blockade." The Cuban capital of Havana is likewise in a somber mood, with all public activities at a halt.

French President Francois Hollande took a more measured approach, recognizing Castro's significance while critiquing his human rights record and praising new dialogue between Cuba and the United States. In America — and particularly among the large Cuban expatriate community in Miami — Castro's death was hailed as a step toward Cuban freedom. "A tyrant is dead and a new beginning can dawn on the last remaining communist bastion of the Western Hemisphere," said Cuban-American Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said his city is celebrating "not the death of a human being, but the death of a dictator." Watch his comments, in the midst of Miami's street celebration, below. Bonnie Kristian