Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made this statement following Cuban leader Fidel Castro's announcement of resignation.
"As you know, Fidel Castro announced that he is stepping down as Cuba's leader after nearly 50 years of one-man rule. The new leadership in Cuba will face a stark choice -- continue with the failed policies of the past that have stifled democratic freedoms and stunted economic growth -- or take a historic step to bring Cuba into the community of democratic nations. The people of Cuba want to seize this opportunity for real change and so must we.
"I would say to the new leadership, the people of the United States are ready to meet you if you move forward towards the path of democracy, with real, substantial reforms. The people of Cuba yearn for the opportunity to get out from under the weight of this authoritarian regime, which has held back 11 million talented and hardworking citizens of the Americas. The new government should take this opportunity to release political prisoners and to take serious steps towards democracy that give their people a real voice in their government.
"The American people have been on the side in the Cuban people's struggle for freedom and democracy in the past and we will be on their side for democracy in the future.
"As President, I will engage our partners in Latin America and Europe who have a strong stake in seeing a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba, and who want very much for the United States to play a constructive role to that end. The United States must pursue an active policy that does everything possible to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and opportunity in Cuba.
"The events of the past three days, including elections in Pakistan and Kosovo's declaration of independence, are a vivid illustration of people around the world yearning for democracy and opportunity. We need a President with the experience to recognize and seize these opportunities to advance America’s values and interests around the world. I will be that President."