HAVANA – President Raul Castro sent a message to Donald Trump congratulating him on winning the U.S. presidential election, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
The brief note on the ministry’s Web site was Cuba’s first official reaction to Trump’s unexpected defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s balloting.
The surprising result introduces an element of uncertainty into the burgeoning normalization launched nearly two years ago by Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama, ending a rupture that began more than five decades ago.
While the Republican candidate was not initially hostile to the restoration of bilateral diplomatic ties and an easing of the U.S. economic embargo, he subsequently turned against the rapprochement and promised Cuban exiles in Miami that he would reverse the process if elected.
Clinton, who served as Obama’s secretary of state from 2009-2013, was widely expected to defeat Trump, but though she took a larger share of the popular vote nationwide, the Republican prevailed in the decisive Electoral College tally.