Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has died aged 90 after a long battle with ill health.
The revolutionary leader ruled the country for nearly 50 years until ill health forced the president to cede his position in 2008. It’s expected that the country will now hold several days of mourning for their now deceased former enigmatic leader.
Castro rose to prominence during a guerilla war with the country’s government along with other revolutionaries such as Che Guevara. He became the country’s Prime Minister in 1959. He fought off an invasion by Cuban exiles in 1961 when the US sponsored the Bay of pigs invasion. In 1962 he sparked the Cuban missile crisis when he agreed that the USSR could deploy their nuclear missiles in the country. He was finally elected president of the the state in 1976.
During his career he was often a thorn for the United States, this was mostly by aligning his revolution with the soviet union, indeed he was such a thorn that it’s thought the CIA made several attempts on his life. From stopping the bay of pigs invasions, to sparking the missile crisis the leader was often controversial. So much so that there have been celebrations in Miami a popular haunt of Cuban exiles.
His country experienced significant poverty during his time in power, he refused to be progressive with the country’s economy. A staunch enemy to capitalism he maintained his principles to the end. Being highly critical when as a show of improved relations outgoing US president Barack Obama visited the country in 2015. It’s now hoped by many that a burgeoning relationship with the US may drag Cuba towards economic and geopolitical prosperity.
He will be mostly remembered for his staunch position against America that almost sparked a nuclear war. When he openly agreed to the USSR storing nuclear weapons in the country, and even noting that he thought they should use them to attack the US. The US responded in kind making several botched attempts on his life, but his cautious nature had saved him from these attempts. As many had noted, getting close to him was almost impossible.
Love him or hate him there’s no doubt that the former leader was a political giant who will certainly be one of history’s most studied and memorable leaders. He’s to be cremated on Saturday, which will begin the days of journey in the country.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.