On November 25th, 2016, the former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro, has passed away at the age of 90 from health complications and old age. Castro’s brother announced his death late Friday night. Castro’s body is set to be cremated and his ashes taken on a 3-day tour of the country before burial on December 6th. The revolutionary leader of Cuba spearheaded the revolution that turned Cuba into a communist state, and played a large role in the cold war. He was a very controversial figure in life, but also in death.
Castro played a monumental role in Cuba’s history. He led a revolution that overthrew the old government in the mid 1950’s, establishing a communist government in the country. The regime he instigated affected many people of the country, weather it was for the better or the worse. He quickly made an enemy of the United States and an ally of the Soviet Union, both being communist. Cuba under Castro’s rule played a pivotal part in the cold war, sparking the Cuban missile crisis and many other disputes in the Caribbean. Several human rights violations were also result of the regime. After the Cold War, Cuba slowly opened up to the outside, although they were still ridden with paranoia of the United States. Castro’s legacy left Cuba with mixed bag of assets. Cuba is relatively poor, not have a good import/export economy, but still retains good social services like free healthcare from the communist regime.
The reactions to Castro’s death were as varied as they were numerous. Many people rejoiced at his death, while others lamented and were saddened. In Havana, Florida, people celebrated for 2 straight days for the demise of Castro. Many residences were refugees, fleeing persecution from the regime. Other residences of Florida also celebrated, due to the fact that they lived in constant fear of the “enemy next door”. President elect Donald Trump also implied that he was somewhat happy in tweets and posts stating “Castro is dead!” Several other republican candidates also expressed their mirth at his passing.
On the other hand, both Barrack Obama and Justin Trudeau both expressed their condolences to Castro, praising him of his good actions, stating that he was a very influential figure in Cuba’s history and offering condolences to his family. Trudeau in particular stated that Castro’s policies were good for the nation. The two political figures also expressed optimistic views on future Cuban-American trade deals and democratic relations. These remarks sparked much controversy, as many still felt that Fidel Castro was an evil man, as he committed many human rights violations as well as being openly hostile. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio criticized Obama over his remarks, stating that he was in support of a war criminal and ruthless dictator. The backlash on social media was also significant.
The death of this controversial figure has sparked much debate and concern over the future of Cuba and its relations with America.