Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90, state TV has announced. The former cigar-puffing leftist, Castro, who reigned over the island nation for nearly a half-century following a communist revolution that culminated in victory in 1959, is dead at the age of 90, according to multiple reports early Saturday. The CNN, The Miami Herald and other major media networks cited Cuban President Raul Castro, his brother’s successor, as having announced Castro’s death.
Fidel Castro’s death sparked celebrations on streets of Miami. Families of Cubans who moved to US after Castro took power welcome the news of his death, in contrast to Havana’s sombre mood. The death of Fidel Castro has provoked celebrations on the streets of Miami, home to the largest diaspora of Cuban exiles, with many taking to the streets to express their delight at the leader’s passing. Within half an hour of the announcement, celebrations, parties, and bouts of flag waving had erupted. Those taking to the streets banged pots and pans and chanted “Cuba Libre!” (Cuba is free) and “el viejo murió” (the old man is dead).Fidel Castro clung to socialism and mentored new leftists.
Fidel Castro caused a scare of unimaginable proportion in 1962.
In response to the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961 by the United States Marines, and the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to agree to Cuba’s Fidel Castro on his request to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter future harassment of Cuba by the United States. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Fidel Castro in July 1962 and construction of a number of missile launch facilities on the island of Cuba started in earnest.
In response, the United States stated unequivocally that a new missile system stationed in the Western hemisphere was unacceptable, leading to a crisis that brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis as it was known, also known as the October Crisis or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union concerning American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with consequent Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. Along with being televised worldwide, it was the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.
Communism had collapsed in Europe, and Cuba’s Soviet lifeline was severed. Food was in short supply. Power outages silenced TV sets normally tuned to a nighttime soap opera. Factories rusted in the tropical heat.
Castro’s “final hour” became weeks, then months, then years. Even as China and Vietnam embraced free markets, Castro clung to his socialist beliefs and Communism’s supposed dinosaur went on to rule for another decade and a half. Along the way he became godfather to a resurgent Latin American left, mentoring a new generation of leaders: Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador.
No other Third World leader prompted so much U.S. hostility for so long. Castro brought the planet to the brink of nuclear war in 1962, sent tens of thousands of troops to aid leftist governments in Africa and nurtured guerrilla movements that fought U.S.-backed governments across Latin America. He endured a crippling U.S. embargo and outlasted 10 U.S. presidents — all of them preaching regime change in Cuba — finally resigning 11 months before Barack Obama moved into the White House, not from U.S. pressure but because of serious illness . . .
. . . But Castro survived to see a wave of leftist governments wash across the continent, with some, notably Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, paying him special homage. He also lived long enough to be around when Raul Castro and Barack Obama struck a historic detente in December 2014, announcing in simultaneous TV speeches that the countries would restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years. Obama made a historic visit to Havana in March 2016.