The news was announced on state television this morning - with a declaration of nine days of official mourning - by his brother, Raul, Cuba's current leader.
Revolutionary firebrand and leader of the island nation from 1959 to 2008, Fidel Castro survived decades of controversy over his rule to emerge unscathed as Cuba's premier elder statesman before his death on November 26, 2016.
from complications following a serious bout of diverticulitis
in July 2006, rumors of Fidel Castro's death had buzzed the Internet
for months, resulting in yet another official denial
by the Cuban foreign minister in August.
On February 19, 2008 he made headlines worldwide when he announced that he would no longer "aspire to nor accept" the position he had held (first as prime minister, then as president from 1976) for over a half century and handed the reigns of government to his brother Raul Castro.
SInce then, the former communist leader kept his image alive in the media with infrequent photo ops, the most recent in February 2015 showing him in an animated discussion with a student in his home in Havana.
One of the last public photos of Fidel Castro taken in 2015 shows former Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro
and the leader of the student association of the University of Havana, Randy Perdomo Garcia.
rose to power in a Cuban guerilla campaign that toppled the Batista
regime on January 1, 1959. Up until his resignation in 2008, he
was one of the longest serving leaders of any nation in the world.
1959, with the help of the now-defunct Soviet Union, Fidel Castro
triumphed through several rumored assassination attempts and years
of economic isolation, along with one famous invasion by the United
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz on August 13, 1926 and raised in the
Oriente Province in Cuba, young Fidel was educated in Catholic
schools, and later at the University of Havana where he studied
It was during his university days when the young Castro joined
a political group opposing the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio
age 27, Castro became involved in an attempt to overthrow the
Batista government with a failed 1953 attack on an army post in
Santiago de Cuba.
Fidel Castro proclaims Cuba "a free nation" in 1959.
then released under a general amnesty in 1955, Castro was exiled
to Mexico and there helped organize the 26th
July movement, named for the date of the first unsuccessful
forces with Ernest "Che"
Guevara, he returned to his homeland with a small group of
rebels - including his brother, Raul - to help lead an invasion
that began in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra.
the the help of Cuban peasants, the growing guerilla force eventually
succeeded in forcing Batista to flee Cuba in late 1958 and proclaimed
Cuba a free nation on January 1, 1959.
hailed as a liberator, Castro took control of the economy by seizing
all foreign property and collectivizing farmland in the name of
the Cuban government. Many fled Cuba when Castro declared himself
to be a Marxist-Leninist in close alliance with the Soviet Union.
A young Castro with Che Guevara in 1961.
the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet
Union, tensions with Cuba steadily grew until 1961, when the U.S.
led an invasion of Cuban exiles at the disastrous Bay
A short year
later, the world was at the brink of nuclear war with the October Cuban
Missile Crisis - when the Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles
capable of reaching the United States on the island some ninety
miles off the Florida coast.
14 days of intense international negotiations, the crisis was
defused when the Soviet Union backed down and removed the missiles.
The aim of
spreading the Marxist revolution throughout the region suffered
a setback when Che Guevara was shot and killed by government forces
in Bolivia in 1967. However, support from pro-Castro forces continued
to grow steadily, witnessed by the Sandinista revolution, which
helped overthrow the Anastasio
Somoza Debayle regime in Nicaraqua in 1979.
fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has experienced serious economic
problems, but Castro remained in power by opening up Cuba
to increased non-US tourism and foreign investment while continuing to
clamp down on public dissent.
his common-law wife Dalia Soto del Valle of 30 years, have 5 sons:
Angel, Antonio, Alejandro, Alexis and Alex.
Condemn me! It does not matter! History will absolve me.
- Statement read at the Urgency Tribunal, Santiago de Cuba, 1953.
I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again,
I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how
small you are if you have faith and plan of action.
If there ever was in the history of humanity an enemy who
was truly universal, an enemy whose acts and moves trouble the
entire world, threaten the entire world, attack the entire world
in any way or another, that real and really universal enemy is
precisely Yankee imperialism.
I would not vote for the mayor. It's not just because he
didn't invite me to dinner, but because on my way into town from
the airport there were such enormous potholes. On Mayor Giuliani's
snub during a 1995 New York visit to the U.N.
The truth is that after several decades of neoliberalism,
the rich are becoming increasingly richer while the poor are both
more numerous and increasingly poorer. - In a