Photo from www.nytimes.com

Who was Castro?

December 9, 2016

Fidel Castro, one of the most influential world leaders of the 20th century, died at the age of 90 on Friday, November 26th, 2016. His name is one that many people instantly recognize all around the world, but who really is Fidel Castro?

Castro started his rule by overthrowing Fulgencio Batista, the military dictator of Cuba, in 1959. Cubans did not know what to expect from their new leader at the time, but they would quickly learn that he was going to bring communism to the western hemisphere. America tried to overthrow Castro through trade embargos and what many believe to be John F.Kennedy’s lowest point, the Bay of Pigs.

He was a very anti American leader, and was often criticized on the lack of political freedoms that Cubans had. He was often referred to as tyrannical leader as he closed many newspapers, stopped his political adversaries, and led a country of impoverished citizens. He held onto his power longer than almost any world leader, second only to Queen Elizabeth II.

Despite the many criticisms that people have about Fidel Castro, he did make many positive changes on the island of Cuba. He abolished legal discrimination, brought electricity to much of the island, and improved education and health care. Most notably, he drastically raised the literacy rate.

His relation with the United States was a defining point in his leadership. He was always in opposition to US goals, even allowing the Soviet Union to station Nuclear missiles in Cuba at one point. This was a great scare for many Americans.

Castro eventually handed his power to his slightly younger brother Raúl Castro in 2014 after he became ill.

For more about Fidel Castro and his death visit http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/fidel-castro and http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/world/americas/fidel-castro-dies.html

 

Photo from www.nytimes.com

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