Fidel Castro a Marxist – Leninist revolutionary who governed the Republic of Cuba as prime minister from 1959 – 1976 and then president from 1976 – 2008 has died at age 90, his brother Raúl Castro, the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba announced on state television. Cuba has declared nine days of national mourning.
Mr Castro’s revolutionary group the 26th of July Movement (formed by himself, Raúl Castro & Che Guevara) succeeded to overthrow President Fulgencio Batista‘s government in what was deemed the Cuban Revolution through guerilla warfare. The USA made interventions with the Bay Of Pigs invasion, assassination attempts which lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev supported the new Communist Cuban government with nuclear weapons set in Cuba to prevent further interference. USA President John F Kennedy‘s government deployed ballistic missiles in Italy & Turkey.
Known to Cuban citizens as “La Barba” (the beard) or by hand gesture to signify a beard, as they were often afraid to state his name or say “La Barba”, Mr Castro served as an inspiration to leaders such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez & Bolivia’s Evo Morales.
President Barack Obama historically normalised relations between Cuba and the United States in meeting leader Raúl Castro in 2015, removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Pope Francis was instrumental in organising a meeting between the two leaders at the Vatican. Fidel Castro remained defiant till the end, stating to Mr Obama in letter that Cuba “has no need of gifts from the empire”.