Cuba’s Fidel Castro dies

This 25 November 2016 video is called Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies at 90.

From Al Jazeera today:

Cuba’s Fidel Castro dies aged 90

Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and current president of Cuba, announced his death on state television early on Saturday.

The leader of the 1959 revolution, which overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, defied the US efforts to topple him for five decades, before ill health led him to make way for his brother Raul, 84, in 2006.

In his final years, Fidel lived in relative seclusion but occasionally wrote opinion pieces or appeared meeting with visiting dignitaries.

‘Enormous emotional impact’

Al Jazeera’s Latin America Editor Lucia Newman, reporting from Santiago, Chile, said Castro’s death hardly came as a surprise.

“He has been a larger-than-life figure who inspired a revolutionary movement all over the world, especially in Latin America,” Newman said.

“As time has gone by we have been hearing less and less from Fidel Castro. We all know he has been ill for a decade and was not been seen since August after his birthday, which was celebrated across the country. …

Havana residents reacted with sadness to the news.

“I am very upset. Whatever you want to say, he is public figure who was respected and loved,” Sariel Valdespino, a student, said. …

The US government spent more than $1bn trying to kill, undermine or otherwise force Castro from power, but he endured unscathed before old age and disease finally took him.

His supporters in Havana described him as a tireless defender of the poor.

Castro was “a giant of the Third World”, said Agustin Diaz Cartaya, 85, who joined Castro in the 1953 attack in eastern Cuba that launched the revolution. “No one has done more for the Third World than Fidel Castro.” …

No doubt, Castro leaves a legacy that will be hotly debated for years to come.

For five decades, he worked to turn the island nation into a place of equality and social justice. His government produced tens of thousands of doctors and teachers and some of the lowest infant mortality and illiteracy rates in the Western hemisphere. …

The US had tried for years to topple the Cuban government. Cuba stumbled along even after the collapse of its chief sponsor, the former Soviet Union.

The CIA plotted to assassinate Castro using everything from exploding seashells to lethal fungus. American officials cut off almost all trade to Cuba. They financed dissidents and pro-democracy activists. But nothing worked during 11 successive administrations, from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama.

On December 17, 2014, Obama announced that the US planned to renew diplomatic ties with Cuba and loosen some trade and travel restrictions.

Obama’s critics were enraged.

50 Truths about Fidel Castro: here.

9 thoughts on “Cuba’s Fidel Castro dies

  1. Tuesday 29th November 2016

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    Trump criticised for calling Fidel a ‘dictator’

    PROGRESSIVE Latin American leaders have slammed US president-elect Donald Trump’s “ignorant” comments about Fidel Castro in which he condemned the late Cuban leader as a “brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.”

    The billionaire tycoon tweeted that Mr Castro’s death on Friday gave members of the influential Cuban-American population of Florida “the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”

    Mr Trump’s comments were also echoed by mainstream media across the world and thousands of Cuban exiles in Miami took to the streets to celebrate the revolutionary’s death.

    While the president-elect promised to reduce heightened tensions in the world and pursue a less interventionist policy in his election campaign, he also played to right-wing Cuban emigres by condemning Cuba and Venezuela.

    Bolivian President Evo Morales shot back in a speech on Sunday, saying: “Almost everyone cries but the president-elect of the United States with a group of people are celebrating.

    “I cannot understand and I want to tell you: fascism with a lot of cynicism celebrates Fidel’s death.”

    Meanwhile Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa tweeted that Mr Trump’s comments were: “The words of an ignorant [person] … an example of what Latin America can expect.”

    And the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin America Director Alexander Schetinin said such remarks were “disrespectful” and driven by “desires to backbite.”

    He said Mr Castro was “a great politician of our time” who is “worthy of everyone’s respect.”

    Public tributes to “El Comandante” began in Havana’s Revolution Square yesterday morning after the government declared nine days of national mourning to culminate with his funeral and cremation on Sunday.

    Mourners gathered at the square’s Jose Marti memorial to pay their respects as a 21-gun salute sounded at 9am.


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