Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro died earlier today. He was 90 years old.
Castro successfully led a revolution overthrowing the Batista government, and then was a scourge for numerous American presidents dating back all the way to John F. Kennedy. A nuclear war almost broke out over the Soviets attempting to bring missiles into Cuba, and the Bay of Pigs disaster marred Kennedy's presidency some. Somehow, he managed to bring Communism into the Western Hemisphere, just 90 miles off of American shores. Even more startling, he managed to stay in power for an incredibly long time - from 1959 all the way until 2006, when he stepped aside to let his brother, Raul Castro, rule the country in his place. Raul Castro has indicated that he intends to step down in 2018.
Since then, each president until President Obama kept the economic boycott in place. Obama ended almost fifty years of boycotting Cuba, and began the process of normalizing relations between the two countries.
Castro was one of the few old style Communist leaders who remained while much of the world changed, as the Berlin Wall falling marked the end of Communist domination in Eastern Europe, which itself accelerated the dissolution of the Soviet Union. China also grew increasingly more capitalistic, and although it is still ruled by the Communist Party, it hardly can be said to be a pure Communist nation in the old-fashioned sense. He had ruled for longer than any other living head of state with the sole exception of Queen Elizabeth.
Indeed, even Cuba is changing, and Castro's death might accelerate that change, as well.
Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90 By ANTHONY DePALMANOV. 26, 2016:
Cuba's Fidel Castro, former president, dies aged 90 6 minutes ago by BBC News, From the section Latin America & Caribbean, November 26, 2016: