HAVANA, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Cuban President Raul Castro on Monday condemned the Orlando mass shooting that killed 49 victims, expressing solidarity with the families of the victims, the U.S. people and government.
"The Cuban people and government express their condolences and solidarity with the families of the victims," Castro said in a message to U.S. President Barack Obama.
The letter, published by Havana's Foreign Affairs Ministry, is the first of its kind sent by Castro to Obama since the two nations re-established diplomatic relations in 2015.
"Cuba rejects and unequivocally condemns all acts of terrorism or hate anywhere, under any circumstances and whatever the motives may be," Castro said.
The mass shooting took place in early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Some 53 people were also wounded, including a police officer.
Dubbed Pride Month, June was widely celebrated among the LGBT communities. The nightclub Pulse was one of Orlando's most well-known venues that hosts nightly LGBT-themed performances as well as a monthly program of LGBT-related educational events.
Obama said that the Orlando shooting is an "act of terror and an act of hate" in a national address in Washington on Sunday afternoon.
He said authorities should spare no effort to determine whether the killer had any ties to extremist groups.
The White House on Monday called the shooting "homegrown extremism," and said it appeared that the shooter was motivated by extremist propaganda online as no evidence was found about his direct link with radical groups.
U.S. news sources said Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old U.S. national of Afghan origin, had been investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 for possible connection to extremists.