WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a former Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, today made the following statement regarding the death of Fidel Castro:

"Fidel Castro's passing, nearly 58 years after he first came to power, marks the end of an era.

"In December 2014, the United States embarked on a path to heal decades-old wounds and empower ordinary Cubans. Rapprochement between our two countries is more important now than ever, and we must continue to stand with the Cuban people in the years ahead.

"Before formally exiting the political scene for health reasons in 2006, Fidel Castro ruled Cuba for decades with an iron fist, denying his people access to free and fair elections, political pluralism and basic human rights. Far too many people—both in Cuba and in exile here in the United States—suffered at the hands of Fidel and his oppressive government.

"At this unique moment in Latin American history, all of us must redouble our efforts to support the Cuban people as they strive toward the democratic future that they deserve. There is a clear opportunity for the Cuban people to move forward and continue to work toward a more hopeful future."