Remembering Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Defiant To The EndBy Beth Golden, UniversityHerald Reporter
It was announced last week that Fidel Castro, one of the longest ruling strongman in Latin America, passed away. It drew a lot of reaction among world leaders. Fidel Castro came into power in 1959 and held onto it for the next 47 years.
Cuba's Communist rebels led by Castro toppled the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista back in 1959 and this is how he became the leader of a tiny country that has always been a thorn to the United States on this part of the globe, a challenge to the mighty powers of Washington.
To get a clearer picture, Castro's nearly half a century's reign survived the Cold War where he persuaded the USSR to use nuclear weapons on the US, eluded several American attempts on his life, directed Cuba's involvement in civil wars across Latin America, and gave 10 American presidents things to worry about with his different activities.
Yes, that's 10 US Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush. If he lived a few more weeks, Castro would have outlived the Obama administration.
Castro has been known for his long speeches, trademark cigar and military fatigues but what made him remarkable is not that he oppressed his people but that he survived against odds. Trade embargoes and sanctions did not slow him down, even the demise of his biggest supporters, the USSR left him unfazed.
Upon coming to power, the Cuban dictator promoted health and human development among his people but he was quick to crush anyone who doesn't share his vision. In his long tenure, Cubans have a nearly universal literacy rate but they lack the freedom to do as they please.
Fidel Castro was forced to relinquish power to his brother Raul in 2006 after he was diagnosed with diverticulitis. Though he was no longer in control of the country he remained defiant and unchanged. His brother Raul may have opened up the country but Fidel remained strongly against the Americans. "We don't need the empire to give us anything," he wrote in a letter after Pres. Obama's to Cuba was made possible by Pope Francis.
Castro's demise were celebrated by the people he oppressed and he was judged by some. President-elect Trump called him a "brutal dictator" but Pres. Obama left the judgment to history.