90-Year-Old Former Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro Dies

90-Year-Old Former Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro Dies

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The revolutionary who changed the political balance of the Western hemisphere has died. Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president, passed away at the age of 90. On Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, his brother made the announcement on Cuban state television, according to The New York Times.

Castro stepped aside in 2006 when he succumbed to a serious illness. Even though he did not resign, he transferred much of his power to Raúl, his younger brother. Then two years later he formally resigned his presidency.

In 2005, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) announced that Castro had Parkinson’s disease. While this was not an official diagnosis, this determination was made based on the public appearances of  Cuba’s former president and the opinions of agency physicians.

The communist dictator ruled Cuba with an iron fist for more 50 years, after the bloody revolution which took place in the middle of the last century. His reign began when he took Havana on Jan. 8, 1959. On that date, the successful guerrilla commander completed the overthrow of Cuba’s dictator, Fulgencio Batista.

During Castro’s dictatorship, he established strong ties with Russia increasing tensions between the U.S. and Cuba. In 1960, the CIA was authorized to recruit and train 1400 Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro, resulting in the April 1961 botched invasion called the Bay of Pigs. This was followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

NBC News reported that when the news of Castro’s death was announced Cuban-Americans in Little Havana, Miami celebrated the former dictator’s demise. A statement made by the first Cuban-American member of the House, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, was released shortly after the announcement. She said that today was a long-awaited moment for people in the U.S. and Cuba: “A tyrant is dead and a new beginning can dawn on the last remaining communist bastion of the Western hemisphere.”

Written by Cathy Milne

Sources:

New York Post: Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies at 90
The New York Times: Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary
Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90
NBC News: Former Cuban President Fidel Castro Dead at 90
History.com: Bay of Pigs Invasion

Image Courtesy of Christian Córdova’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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