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Cuba's Fidel Castro dead aged 90

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by brahmos_ii, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States, has died aged 90.

    Raul Castro, Fidel's brother and current president of Cuba, announced his death on state television in Havana 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.

    "His death is going to have an enormous emotional impact on Cubans. It does really feel like the beginning of the end of the Castro era," Newman said.

    Havana residents reacted with sadness to the news.

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

    In contrast, exiled Cubans in Florida celebrated his death in the streets of Miami's Little Havana.

    Videos posted on social media showed people opening bottles of champagne, honking their car horns and banging on pots and pans.

    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".

    Critics say Castro drove the country into economic ruin, denied basic freedoms to 11 million Cubans at home and forced more than a million others into exile.

    "In 55 years, the Cuban government has not done anything to help the Cuban people in terms of human rights," said Hector Maseda, 72, a former political prisoner who lives in Havana. "I don't believe in this regime. I don't trust it."

    Hotly debated legacy
    Doubtlessly, 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.

    But Cuba never shook off its dependence on foreign dollars and the state-run economy failed to bring prosperity to most Cubans.

    "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us any more," Castro admitted in 2010, startling a visiting US journalist.

    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, and 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, saying he was throwing a lifeline to the socialist government and undermining the work of democracy activists who were regularly arrested and beaten.

    Obama vowed to continue supporting democracy activists in Cuba, but said the US embargo had not worked and lawmakers should lift it.

    As part of the deal he struck with Cuba, the US agreed to send three Cuban spies back to the island in exchange for jailed American development worker Alan Gross and Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, a Cuban agent who spied for the CIA.
     
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  2. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    The former Cuban president died at the age of 90 and his body will be cremated under his own will, the Prensa Latina news agency reported, citing incumbent Cuban President Raul Castro, Fidel Castro's brother.

    The following is his biography.

    Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926, in the village of Biran, Oriente Province (now Holguin Province). His father, Angel Castro, a Spanish immigrant, owned a large sugar plantation. In addition to two children from his first marriage, Castro’s father adopted the five children he fathered out of wedlock with his cook Lina Ruz Gonzalez. Fidel and his brothers went to a Catholic boarding school in Santiago. He also attended Jesuit-run El Colegio de Belen in Havana. There he excelled in the humanities and devoted a great deal of time to sports, and was named his school’s best athlete in 1944.

    In 1950, he graduated from the law department at the University of Havana, and went on to complete his graduate studies there to earn a Juris Doctor degree.

    After graduation, Castro practiced law in Havana, providing pro-bono legal assistance to the poor.

    In the early 1950s, Fidel joined the Party of the Cuban People (Partido Ortodoxo). He was considered a parliamentary candidate on the party’s list in the 1952 parliamentary elections, but the party’s leadership ultimately decided Castro was too radical. Following the military coup of March 11, 1952, which brought Fulgencio Batista to power, Castro emerged in the forefront of the struggle against the dictatorship.

    He formed a small group of former members of the disbanded Partido Ortodoxo and began preparing to topple the Batista regime. On July 26, 1953, the group stormed the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba, but the attack was brutally suppressed. Castro was arrested and faced a military tribunal. At the trial, he delivered his famous "History Will Absolve Me" speech, in which he outlined a program for national liberation and revolutionary change in Cuba. Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but in May 1955, he was pardoned under the pressure of public opinion and left for Mexico the same year. In December 1956, a group of revolutionaries led by Castro returned to Cuba on a small yacht called the Granma, landing in the province of Oriente. The group grew to become the Rebel Army, which launched a guerrilla war against the regime.

    Following the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship on January 1, 1959, Castro took command of the Cuban Army, and became prime minister of Cuba in February 1959. In April 1961, he led the operation to defeat the US-sponsored invasion of Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. After fending off a countercoup, Castro announced that Cuba would embrace socialism. In October 1965, he was appointed first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party. In 1976, he took over as chairman of the Cuban National Assembly’s State Council, thus simultaneously serving as Cuba’s head of state and government. On August 1, 2006, Castro temporarily transferred power to his younger brother Raul before undergoing intestinal tract surgery on July 31, 2006.

    On February 19, 2008, he announced his resignation as head of state. On the same day, the Granma newspaper published his address to the people of Cuba, in which he declared that he would not return to power. After retiring from government, Castro first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party until April 19, 2011, when he officially announced his resignation from the post, to be succeeded by brother Raul. Since retiring, Castro has devoted his time to publishing a series of articles called "Reflections." In 1963, Castro was made an Emeritus Doctor of Law by the Lomonosov Moscow State University. In 1961, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. In 1963, he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Castro holds two orders of Lenin, awarded in 1972 and 1986, and an Order of the October Revolution, awarded in 1976. Among the many international awards Castro has received, some are truly unique, including the Commander's Cross of the Order of Saint Bridget of Sweden, presented to him on March 8, 2003, by the abbess of the monastic order founded in the 14th century in Sweden.

    Castro was awarded the cross in recognition of his services "in promoting the high ideals of dialogue and peace." The presentation of the Commander’s Cross was timed to coincide with the opening of the Order of the Holy Savior of Santa Brigida residence in the heart of Havana. On August 31, 2003, Castro was awarded the highest honor of the American Indian Movement, the Eagle Feather, in recognition of his revolutionary achievements and warrior qualities. The Eagle Feather is awarded to persons who have demonstrated courage, dignity and honesty.

    Castro was the first recipient of this award born outside of the United States. During his years in power, Castro reportedly survived more than 600 assassination attempts by the US government, Cuban exile groups and the US mafia.
     
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  3. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Earlier in the day, Cuban media reported, citing incumbent President Raul Castro, about the death of Fidel Castro.

    "Heartfelt condolences on sad demise of Cuba's revolutionary leader, former President & friend of India, Fidel Castro," Mukherjee said on his Twitter account.

    The Mexican leader also expressed regret over the death of the Cuban politician.
    "Fidel Castro was Mexico's friend, he had contributed to the relations based on trust, dialogue and solidarity. I regret about the death of Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution, the symbol of the 20th century," Pena Nieto said on his Twitter account.

    Maduro said that in talks with Raul Castro the Venezuelan leader voiced support and solidarity to all the Cubans. "I have just spoken to President Raul Castro, I have voiced support and solidarity after the death of comandante Fidel Castro to him and to the whole Cuban nation," Maduro said on his Twitter account.

    Fidel Castro was born in 1926 in the Cuban village of Biran. He became Cuban prime minister in February 1959. In 2008, he announced his resignation as head of state. He remained the first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party until April 19, 2011, when he officially announced his resignation from the post.

    Read more: https://sputniknews.com/world/201611261047863394-castro-cuba-condolences/
     
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  4. jha

    jha 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Another Communist dictator kicks the bucket. Cubans have better future now.
     

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