Cuban Leader for Nearly Five Decades is Dead
Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul announced his brother’s death late last night. Often described as a man with an out-sized ego, his victory as a guerrilla leader in 1959, at almost impossible odds, led him to be the most powerful man in Cuba for decades that followed.
Aside from having an over-sized ego, Castro was also referred to as a ruthless dictator. Although he had promised free elections, this never happened. He executed thousands of his opponents. He also imprisoned tens of thousands while installing a Communist regime. He managed to make his island of Cuba a pawn in the Cold War. His strong alliance with the Soviet Union brought the world close to a nuclear war in 1962.
His dictatorship resulted in creating a state controlled by the arts, the press, the airwaves. He created an efficient police force which was aided by neighborhood spies as well as pro-government mobs that attacked those who dared to call for democratic change.
Through the year hundreds of thousands fled from Cuba. Many of them left for Miami where the population grew so it became known as Little Havana. When the death of Castro was announced thousands of Cuban exiles joined together to celebrate his death. People spilled onto the streets, honked horns, bang pans, and set off fireworks.The cradle of the Cuban exile community was one of pure, raw, emotion as they realized that Castro’s death was real.