Fidel Castro, Cuban nationalist who led the communist revolution and defied the United States during a half-century of ironclad rule, has died at the age of 90 (Nov. 25 Black Friday). Castro stepped down from power in 2008 after five decades as prime minister and president of the island.
“We will renounce wealth to sacrifice ourselves for the country,” said Castro as he took office in 1959, “to sacrifice ourselves for the homeland, to save the revolution that has many enemies — not many inside, but the ones it does have are powerful; many outside, and powerful, — that has many obstacles, because sometimes we ourselves, with our impatience, with our lightness, with our prejudices, are an obstacle to the revolution.”
Castro was an icon to many Latin American leaders, and shared political ideologies with the likes of the late Che Guevara and Malcolm X.
“We have always been in solidarity with the struggle of Black people, of minorities, and of the poor in the United States,” said Fidel on May 24, 1990 while remembering X’s political legacy. “We have always been in solidarity with them, and they have been in solidarity with us. We must fight to defeat the campaigns, the schemes, and the lies, all that is aimed at separating us.”
Although Castro had been lauded by many for giving Cuba back to the people, critics globally saw him as an evil tyrant and dictator. Several human rights groups, for instance, abhorred Cuba’s accounts on civil rights, referring to political repression, lack of a free press, and the disproportionate imprisonment of protesters.
Upon hearing about Castro’s death, Miami Cubans took to the streets in droves to celebrate the end of an era and the presumed liberty of the Cuban people.