Castro


Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, father of communist Cuba, dead at 90  

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2016, 4:37 AM
FIdel Castro, father of communist Cuba, dead at 90
NY Daily News
Autoplay: On | Off
Fidel Castro, the father of communist Cuba who was a thorn in America’s side for nearly half a century, died Friday at the age of 90.

The passing of the bearded, pistol-packing, cigar-chomping comandante was announced by Cuban state TV late Friday.

He died at 10:29 p.m. and is expected to be cremated Saturday morning, officials said.

The revolutionary leader and former president had been in failing health for the past decade — and as recently as April said in an interview he knew his time was fast approaching.

Donald Trump conducted illegal business in Communist Cuba: report

Fidel Castro gave the reins of power to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2006 before he underwent emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding.

Fidel Castro (seen in 2001) died around 7 p.m. local time Friday, according to Cuban state-run television.

(ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The younger Castro, formerly the defense minister, became the permanent president in 2008 when it was clear his brother’s health was waning.

Castro lived long enough to see the U.S. restore most diplomatic relations with his country — although America has yet to relinquish all of its Cold War policy of trying to neutralize him by isolating and impoverishing Cuba.

The death of the Cuban strongman will likely usher in a surge of change to the Caribbean island that in many ways is still frozen in the 1950s — when the U.S. embargo first began.

Fidel Castro admits in rare speech he’s near end of life

With Raul Castro having already said he will step down in 2018, it’s likely Cuba will soon abandon communism altogether, according to Armando Garcia de la Torre, a professor of Latin American and Caribbean history born in Miami to Cuban parents.

Castro shakes hands with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Havana on  Nov. 15. This is the last known photo of the former Cuban leader.

Castro shakes hands with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Havana on  Nov. 15. This is the last known photo of the former Cuban leader.

(ALEX CASTRO/AP)

“The pace of reform in Cuba and the unwinding of Castro’s legacy is going to be more direct now and go much faster,” said Garcia, who travels frequently to the island.

“Raul’s loyalty was also more toward his brother than to the revolution — with Fidel gone, the pressure is off him to adhere to all the ideals and beliefs of his brother’s revolution,” he added.

While older Cubans and Fidel loyalists will likely mourn his loss, most Cubans and especially younger ones will feel “a sense of relief and release to finally turn the page, ” Garcia noted. “In Miami, they’ll be popping champagne.”

Fidel Castro goes to Cuban school in rare public appearance

To the end, Castro remained a darling of the radical left and a Third World hero because of his strident anti-Americanism — and his refusal to buckle under the hardships wrought by the U.S. economic blockage that forced generations of desperate Cubans to flee to Florida.

Castro also remained an olive-drab tyrant who used his troops to keep his own people in line while fomenting revolution abroad.

To many Cuban emigres in the U.S. and their supporters in Washington, he was the devil and they vowed to keep turning the screws even as President Obama eased restrictions on travel and expanded economic ties.

Back in 1995, when Castro visited New York for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, then Mayor Rudy Giuliani snubbed him as a “murdering dictator.”

Fidel Castro blasts Obama’s trip to Cuba in harsh letter

But Castro was a dictator who could tell which way the wind was blowing. And when the end of the Cold War brought the collapse of Cuba’s Soviet sponsor, Castro reached across the Caribbean and forged alliances with admirers like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who called him “The Grandfather.”

At the same time, Castro subtly softened his hardline communist policies and began encouraging foreign investors to develop Cuba’s tourism industry — and bring in badly needed jobs for his hard-pressed people.

Raul Castro announces death of brother Fidel Castro to people of Cuba
NY Daily News

In January 1998, Castro welcomed Pope John Paul II — a Polish pontiff and avowed enemy of Communism — to the officially atheist island and reinstalled Christmas as an official state celebration.

Macho to the core and blessed with a robust constitution, Castro began showing signs of serious decline in 2001 when he fainted during a seven-hour speech.

President Obama, Raul Castro voice differences at Cuban meet

Three years later, Castro did a televised swan dive when he tripped and fell at a rally, breaking a kneecap.

The CIA reported that Castro was showing signs of Parkinson’s disease, but the old dictator scoffed.


A person wearing a Donald Trump mask joins Miami residents as they celebrate Castro’s death at Cuban restaurant Versailles early Saturday.

(CRISTOBAL HERRERA/EPA)

“I don’t care if I get Parkinson’s,” he said. “The Pope had Parkinson’s, and he spent a bunch of years running all around the world.”

While Castro remained in the shadows after 2006, his brother engaged in 18 months of hush-hush talks with the Obama Administration, leading to a major thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. Raul Castro reportedly fired-up a cigar afterward — a Cuban cigar, of course.

Harlem’s warm welcome to Fidel Castro staying at Hotel Theresa

Born Aug. 13, 1926, the son of a sugarcane plantation owner in the eastern province of Oriente, there was little in Fidel Castro’s background to suggest that he would one day become a Marxist warrior alongside the likes of Argentina’s Ernesto (Che) Guevara.

Castro attended Catholic schools before heading to the University of Havana, where he eventually earned a doctoral degree in law in 1950. He was also a gifted athlete who played baseball well enough to be drafted by the Washington Senators.

Not Released (NR) XGTY/RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE-MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/PRENSA MIRAFLORES" NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS-DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS-GETTY OUT

Cuba’s longtime leader attending his 90th birthday party in Havana together with his brother, Raul Castro (l.), and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro this past August.

(MARCELO GARCIA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

But it was while on campus that he discovered his true calling — politics. And his charisma and ability to give rousing speeches marked him as a natural leader.

TO GO WITH AFP STORIES CASTRO'S 80 ANNIVERSARY

Fidel Castro (top, 2nd r.) stands with brother Raul (bottom) and Ernesto “Che” Guevara (top, 2nd l.) in 1958, during the Castro-led guerrilla war against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Their revolution succeeded in 1959.

(ARCHIVO BOHEMIA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

After getting a taste of battle in a failed expedition against dictator Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Castro returned home, married and had a three-month honeymoon in the U.S. Then the newlyweds moved into a house Castro’s father bought for him, and he opened a law practice in Havana.

As Fidel Castro turns 90, he praises Cubans and digs at Obama

Castro wasn’t a lawyer for long. After Fulgencio Batista overthrew the Cuban government, he took up arms against Batista but was quickly captured by the despot’s soldiers.

Released after two years in prison, Castro was briefly exiled to Miami and New York before returning to the Cuban hills from which he waged a successful guerrilla war that toppled the corrupt dictator in 1959.

Castro was initially very popular in the U.S., where his guerrilla exploits were lauded in the press. He was also backed by the Cuban middle class, by many influential Cuban Army officers who detested Batista, and even by writer Ernest Hemingway, who was living then in Cuba and shared Castro’s passion for fishing.

“Power does not interest me and I will not take it,” Castro said while on a victory tour of the U.S. that included a stop in New York. He reassured businessmen that no U.S. property would be expropriated by the new government.

A look at the U.S.’s boldest military operations since WWII

The Daily News announces Castro’s death on Saturday's front page.

The Daily News announces Castro’s death on Saturday’s front page.

(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Things changed in the spring and summer of 1959 when Castro declared himself dictator and suspended the country’s constitution. He began nationalizing public utilities, confiscating private plantations, and seizing American businesses.

When the U.S. objected, Castro publically tore up the Cuba-U.S. mutual defense treaty. His power grab sparked the first Cuban exodus with 30,000 heading for Miami. Many more would follow.

Twenty months into power, Castro showed his true colors in a record-setting four-hour, 26-minute speech before the UN General Assembly where he railed against American “imperialists” and “monopolists.”

On that trip, Castro strolled arm-in-arm through Harlem with his new best friend, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He also angrily checked out of the swanky Shelburne Hotel and threatened to camp in Central Park before his entourage headed up to 125th St. and the now-closed Theresa Hotel.

New U.S.-Cuba relations recalls Elian Gonzalez saga

Exported.;

Castro throws a baseball before the start of a game between the Cuban military and the police on July 24, 1959.

(AP)

Housekeepers at the Shelburne complained the Cubans cooked chickens in their rooms and left behind a “dreadful mess” of bones and feathers.

In April 1961, Castro routed a CIA-backed band of Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs aimed at overthrowing his government. He also survived several assassination attempts — including CIA plots to poison his cigars and milkshakes.

“I am a Marxist-Leninist and will be a Marxist-Leninist until the day I die,” Castro told his countrymen on Dec. 2, 1961.

The next year, Castro came close to sparking a third World War by giving the Soviets permission to install missiles capable of striking most of the U.S. on the island.

18391

A U.S. Marine helps a child off one of the refugee boats that poured into Key West for weeks during the infamous Mariel Boatlift, during which more than 125,000 Cubans fled the island, in May 1980.

(FERNANDO YOVERA/AP)

When they were detected in October 1962, President Kennedy blockaded Cuba and said the U.S. Navy would search inbound Soviet ships. The Soviets backed down and agreed to remove the weapons.

Castro continued to vex the White House. In 1975, he dispatched Cuban troops to Angola to prop up the left-wing regime’s fight against South African-backed rebels.

Back in Cuba, Castro’s government industrialized the country and his emphasis on education turned a country of illiterates into a nation with a 96% reading rate. Black Cubans and women, traditionally at the bottom of the social scale, were guaranteed equal rights.

But Castro’s lock on power, his brutal repression of political dissent, and his economic blunders impoverished Cuba. Given the chance to flee, more than 125,000 Cubans piled onto rickety boats and took off for America in 1980 as part of the infamous Mariel Boatlift.

Castro stands by as Elian Gonzalez, the subject of a custody battle between the U.S. and Cuba in 2000, celebrates his 10th birthday party in 2003.

Castro stands by as Elian Gonzalez, the subject of a custody battle between the U.S. and Cuba in 2000, celebrates his 10th birthday party in 2003.

(CLAUDIA DAUT/REUTERS)

The collapse of the Soviet Union forced Cuba to face up to the fact that its socialist economy was failing. In 1993, Castro ended the ban on U.S. dollars. And an anti-Castro riot a year later scared the regime into allowing thousands more Cubans to leave — if only to get rid of potential troublemakers.

Castro scored a PR coup in 2000 when Elian Gonzalez, a 6-year-old Cuban defector who was rescued at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard, returned home. But whatever points at home he scored were short-lived, as Cubans continued to flee.

Defectors have long pushed stories about Castro’s fabulous wealth and Forbes magazine called him one of the world’s richest men in 1995. They estimated he was worth $550 million.

But Castro, who was rarely out of uniform in his public appearances and gave no sign of living an opulent lifestyle, dismissed the claims as nonsense.

Fidel Castro visits New York City in 1959
NY Daily News

“If they can prove I have an account abroad … containing even one dollar I will resign my post,” he said.

Castro married Mirta Diaz-Balart in 1948 and they had a son. They divorced in 1955. The dictator reportedly married former schoolteacher Dalia Soto del Valle, with whom he had five sons.

He reportedly fathered other children out of wedlock, including daughter Alina Fernandez, who like so many other Cubans defected to the United States in 1993.

WITH ,

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, father of communist Cuba, dead at 90

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2016, 4:37 AM

FIdel Castro, father of communist Cuba, dead at 90
NY Daily News
Autoplay: On | Off
Fidel Castro, the father of communist Cuba who was a thorn in America’s side for nearly half a century, died Friday at the age of 90.

The passing of the bearded, pistol-packing, cigar-chomping comandante was announced by Cuban state TV late Friday.

He died at 10:29 p.m. and is expected to be cremated Saturday morning, officials said.

The revolutionary leader and former president had been in failing health for the past decade — and as recently as April said in an interview he knew his time was fast approaching.

Donald Trump conducted illegal business in Communist Cuba: report

Fidel Castro gave the reins of power to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2006 before he underwent emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding.

Not Released (NR)

Fidel Castro (seen in 2001) died around 7 p.m. local time Friday, according to Cuban state-run television.

(ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The younger Castro, formerly the defense minister, became the permanent president in 2008 when it was clear his brother’s health was waning.

Castro lived long enough to see the U.S. restore most diplomatic relations with his country — although America has yet to relinquish all of its Cold War policy of trying to neutralize him by isolating and impoverishing Cuba.

The death of the Cuban strongman will likely usher in a surge of change to the Caribbean island that in many ways is still frozen in the 1950s — when the U.S. embargo first began.

Fidel Castro admits in rare speech he’s near end of life

With Raul Castro having already said he will step down in 2018, it’s likely Cuba will soon abandon communism altogether, according to Armando Garcia de la Torre, a professor of Latin American and Caribbean history born in Miami to Cuban parents.

Castro shakes hands with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Havana on  Nov. 15. This is the last known photo of the former Cuban leader.

Castro shakes hands with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Havana on  Nov. 15. This is the last known photo of the former Cuban leader.

(ALEX CASTRO/AP)

“The pace of reform in Cuba and the unwinding of Castro’s legacy is going to be more direct now and go much faster,” said Garcia, who travels frequently to the island.

“Raul’s loyalty was also more toward his brother than to the revolution — with Fidel gone, the pressure is off him to adhere to all the ideals and beliefs of his brother’s revolution,” he added.

While older Cubans and Fidel loyalists will likely mourn his loss, most Cubans and especially younger ones will feel “a sense of relief and release to finally turn the page, ” Garcia noted. “In Miami, they’ll be popping champagne.”

Fidel Castro goes to Cuban school in rare public appearance

To the end, Castro remained a darling of the radical left and a Third World hero because of his strident anti-Americanism — and his refusal to buckle under the hardships wrought by the U.S. economic blockage that forced generations of desperate Cubans to flee to Florida.

Castro also remained an olive-drab tyrant who used his troops to keep his own people in line while fomenting revolution abroad.

To many Cuban emigres in the U.S. and their supporters in Washington, he was the devil and they vowed to keep turning the screws even as President Obama eased restrictions on travel and expanded economic ties.

Back in 1995, when Castro visited New York for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, then Mayor Rudy Giuliani snubbed him as a “murdering dictator.”

Fidel Castro blasts Obama’s trip to Cuba in harsh letter

But Castro was a dictator who could tell which way the wind was blowing. And when the end of the Cold War brought the collapse of Cuba’s Soviet sponsor, Castro reached across the Caribbean and forged alliances with admirers like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who called him “The Grandfather.”

At the same time, Castro subtly softened his hardline communist policies and began encouraging foreign investors to develop Cuba’s tourism industry — and bring in badly needed jobs for his hard-pressed people.

Raul Castro announces death of brother Fidel Castro to people of Cuba
NY Daily News

In January 1998, Castro welcomed Pope John Paul II — a Polish pontiff and avowed enemy of Communism — to the officially atheist island and reinstalled Christmas as an official state celebration.

Macho to the core and blessed with a robust constitution, Castro began showing signs of serious decline in 2001 when he fainted during a seven-hour speech.

President Obama, Raul Castro voice differences at Cuban meet

Three years later, Castro did a televised swan dive when he tripped and fell at a rally, breaking a kneecap.

The CIA reported that Castro was showing signs of Parkinson’s disease, but the old dictator scoffed.


A person wearing a Donald Trump mask joins Miami residents as they celebrate Castro’s death at Cuban restaurant Versailles early Saturday.

(CRISTOBAL HERRERA/EPA)

“I don’t care if I get Parkinson’s,” he said. “The Pope had Parkinson’s, and he spent a bunch of years running all around the world.”

While Castro remained in the shadows after 2006, his brother engaged in 18 months of hush-hush talks with the Obama Administration, leading to a major thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. Raul Castro reportedly fired-up a cigar afterward — a Cuban cigar, of course.

Harlem’s warm welcome to Fidel Castro staying at Hotel Theresa

Born Aug. 13, 1926, the son of a sugarcane plantation owner in the eastern province of Oriente, there was little in Fidel Castro’s background to suggest that he would one day become a Marxist warrior alongside the likes of Argentina’s Ernesto (Che) Guevara.

Castro attended Catholic schools before heading to the University of Havana, where he eventually earned a doctoral degree in law in 1950. He was also a gifted athlete who played baseball well enough to be drafted by the Washington Senators.

Not Released (NR) XGTY/RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE-MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/PRENSA MIRAFLORES" NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS-DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS-GETTY OUT

Cuba’s longtime leader attending his 90th birthday party in Havana together with his brother, Raul Castro (l.), and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro this past August.

(MARCELO GARCIA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

But it was while on campus that he discovered his true calling — politics. And his charisma and ability to give rousing speeches marked him as a natural leader.

TO GO WITH AFP STORIES CASTRO'S 80 ANNIVERSARY

Fidel Castro (top, 2nd r.) stands with brother Raul (bottom) and Ernesto “Che” Guevara (top, 2nd l.) in 1958, during the Castro-led guerrilla war against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Their revolution succeeded in 1959.

(ARCHIVO BOHEMIA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

After getting a taste of battle in a failed expedition against dictator Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Castro returned home, married and had a three-month honeymoon in the U.S. Then the newlyweds moved into a house Castro’s father bought for him, and he opened a law practice in Havana.

As Fidel Castro turns 90, he praises Cubans and digs at Obama

Castro wasn’t a lawyer for long. After Fulgencio Batista overthrew the Cuban government, he took up arms against Batista but was quickly captured by the despot’s soldiers.

Released after two years in prison, Castro was briefly exiled to Miami and New York before returning to the Cuban hills from which he waged a successful guerrilla war that toppled the corrupt dictator in 1959.

Castro was initially very popular in the U.S., where his guerrilla exploits were lauded in the press. He was also backed by the Cuban middle class, by many influential Cuban Army officers who detested Batista, and even by writer Ernest Hemingway, who was living then in Cuba and shared Castro’s passion for fishing.

“Power does not interest me and I will not take it,” Castro said while on a victory tour of the U.S. that included a stop in New York. He reassured businessmen that no U.S. property would be expropriated by the new government.

A look at the U.S.’s boldest military operations since WWII

The Daily News announces Castro’s death on Saturday's front page.

The Daily News announces Castro’s death on Saturday’s front page.

(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Things changed in the spring and summer of 1959 when Castro declared himself dictator and suspended the country’s constitution. He began nationalizing public utilities, confiscating private plantations, and seizing American businesses.

When the U.S. objected, Castro publically tore up the Cuba-U.S. mutual defense treaty. His power grab sparked the first Cuban exodus with 30,000 heading for Miami. Many more would follow.

Twenty months into power, Castro showed his true colors in a record-setting four-hour, 26-minute speech before the UN General Assembly where he railed against American “imperialists” and “monopolists.”

On that trip, Castro strolled arm-in-arm through Harlem with his new best friend, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He also angrily checked out of the swanky Shelburne Hotel and threatened to camp in Central Park before his entourage headed up to 125th St. and the now-closed Theresa Hotel.

New U.S.-Cuba relations recalls Elian Gonzalez saga

Exported.;

Castro throws a baseball before the start of a game between the Cuban military and the police on July 24, 1959.

(AP)

Housekeepers at the Shelburne complained the Cubans cooked chickens in their rooms and left behind a “dreadful mess” of bones and feathers.

In April 1961, Castro routed a CIA-backed band of Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs aimed at overthrowing his government. He also survived several assassination attempts — including CIA plots to poison his cigars and milkshakes.

“I am a Marxist-Leninist and will be a Marxist-Leninist until the day I die,” Castro told his countrymen on Dec. 2, 1961.

The next year, Castro came close to sparking a third World War by giving the Soviets permission to install missiles capable of striking most of the U.S. on the island.

18391

A U.S. Marine helps a child off one of the refugee boats that poured into Key West for weeks during the infamous Mariel Boatlift, during which more than 125,000 Cubans fled the island, in May 1980.

(FERNANDO YOVERA/AP)

When they were detected in October 1962, President Kennedy blockaded Cuba and said the U.S. Navy would search inbound Soviet ships. The Soviets backed down and agreed to remove the weapons.

Castro continued to vex the White House. In 1975, he dispatched Cuban troops to Angola to prop up the left-wing regime’s fight against South African-backed rebels.

Back in Cuba, Castro’s government industrialized the country and his emphasis on education turned a country of illiterates into a nation with a 96% reading rate. Black Cubans and women, traditionally at the bottom of the social scale, were guaranteed equal rights.

But Castro’s lock on power, his brutal repression of political dissent, and his economic blunders impoverished Cuba. Given the chance to flee, more than 125,000 Cubans piled onto rickety boats and took off for America in 1980 as part of the infamous Mariel Boatlift.

Castro stands by as Elian Gonzalez, the subject of a custody battle between the U.S. and Cuba in 2000, celebrates his 10th birthday party in 2003.

Castro stands by as Elian Gonzalez, the subject of a custody battle between the U.S. and Cuba in 2000, celebrates his 10th birthday party in 2003.

(CLAUDIA DAUT/REUTERS)

The collapse of the Soviet Union forced Cuba to face up to the fact that its socialist economy was failing. In 1993, Castro ended the ban on U.S. dollars. And an anti-Castro riot a year later scared the regime into allowing thousands more Cubans to leave — if only to get rid of potential troublemakers.

Castro scored a PR coup in 2000 when Elian Gonzalez, a 6-year-old Cuban defector who was rescued at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard, returned home. But whatever points at home he scored were short-lived, as Cubans continued to flee.

Defectors have long pushed stories about Castro’s fabulous wealth and Forbes magazine called him one of the world’s richest men in 1995. They estimated he was worth $550 million.

But Castro, who was rarely out of uniform in his public appearances and gave no sign of living an opulent lifestyle, dismissed the claims as nonsense.

Fidel Castro visits New York City in 1959
NY Daily News

“If they can prove I have an account abroad … containing even one dollar I will resign my post,” he said.

Castro married Mirta Diaz-Balart in 1948 and they had a son. They divorced in 1955. The dictator reportedly married former schoolteacher Dalia Soto del Valle, with whom he had five sons.

He reportedly fathered other children out of wedlock, including daughter Alina Fernandez, who like so many other Cubans defected to the United States in 1993.

WITH ,

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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