Cuba’s Fidel Castro, former president, dies aged 90

Nov 26, 2016
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He formed strong friendships with other Latin American leaders, including Venezuela’s late Hugo Chavez, and intellectuals including the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is said to have based his novel The Autumn of the Patriarch on the Cuban strongman.

In 2008 castro stands down as President of Cuba due to health issues. Obama made a historic visit to Havana in March 2016.

February 19, 2008 Castro resigns as president.

The letter was posted to the Communist Party’s website, Granma, in which Castro said, “I do not bid you farewell”.

Another unknown that Cuban Americans are contemplating is what impact the election of Donald Trump to the USA presidency might have on relations between the two nations, and whether the Republican leader might pull back on President Barack Obama’s initiatives to restore relations and trade between the countries.

In 1964, Castro acknowledged holding 15,000 political prisoners.

Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for nearly half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008. His defiant image lingered long after he gave up his trademark Cohiba cigars for health reasons and his tall frame grew stooped.

“I have never been afraid of death”, Castro said in 2002.

Castro was born August 13, 1926, in Oriente province in eastern Cuba.

But his young man’s dreams evolved not in sports but politics.

President John Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba, precipitating an American-Soviet nuclear stand-off.

Cuba and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations on May 8, 1960, further eroding the relationship with the United States.

Took power when dictator Fulgencio Batista fled New Year’s Day 1959.

United States cut all trade with Cuba as island allied with Soviet Union, leading to October 1962 missile crisis that brought world to brink of nuclear war.

Cuban-American relations were to reach crisis level a year later when USA spy satellites discovered the groundwork for a long-range Soviet missile base on Cuba.

For days the world held its breath before Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev backed down and ordered missile-laden ships back to port. Here is a look at his life and work in Cuba. – Reuters picCastro strode the world stage as a communist icon when the Cold War was at its height.

I extend my deepest condolences to the Government and people of Cuba on the sad demise of Fidel Castro. Much later, economic hardship saw waves of migrants leave Cuban shores in boats, desperate to reach America. The United States had invaded the island nation before, he reminded his 11 million people constantly, and could do so again at any time. The economy in Cuba however collapsed when the USSR fell in the 1990s.

Many South Florida Cubans told NBC 6 Fidel’s death is symbolic and may pave the way for true change in Cuba.

But the island suffered from an exodus of people and capital overseas, mainly to Florida where a large anti-Castro movement thrived. Castro formally stepped down in 2008 after suffering gastrointestinal ailments and public appearances have been increasingly unusual in recent years. The couple later divorced.

Alina Fernandez, Fidel’s daughter, fled the island for Miami with hundreds of thousands of other Cubans.

Castro is survived by longtime wife, Dalia Soto del Valle, and their five sons together, along with at least two other children. The committee in charge of organizing funerals will provide our people with detailed information about the posthumous tribute’s organization, which will honor the founder of the Cuban Revolution.

Within months, Castro was imposing radical economic reforms.

Fidel Castro, former leader of Cuba who defied the power of 10 US presidents, dies at age 90

 

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