“Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied U.S. efforts to topple him, died on Friday, state-run Cuban Television said,” Reuters reports from Havana. The story adds, “He was 90. Castro [had been] in poor health since an intestinal ailment nearly killed him in 2006.
“The bearded Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution and ruled Cuba for 49 years with a mix of charisma and iron will, creating a one-party state and becoming a central figure in the Cold War.”
Writes BBC News, “[D]espite the constant threat of a US invasion as well as the long-standing economic embargo on the island, Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution in a nation just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
“Despised by his critics as much as he was revered by his followers, he outlasted ten US presidents and defied scores of attempts on his life by the CIA.”
Notes Variety, “At the end of 2014, President Barack Obama moved to normalize relations between [Cuba and the United States], at last giving Cubans a chance to participate economically with the U.S.”