Cuba’s Communist Revolutionary Fidel Castro Dies at 90

Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader, built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States.

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Former Cuban President Fidel Castro died on Saturday (Friday in the US) morning at the age of 90, his brother Raul Castro announced on Cuban state television. His body will be cremated on Saturday, reports said.

Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader, built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied US efforts to topple him.

In a speech in April this year, he told his party members he is nearing the end of his life and exhorted them to help his ideas survive. He said:

I’ll be 90 years old soon. Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervour and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without a truce to obtain them.

In his last years, Castro occasionally appeared in public and in videos and pictures, usually meeting with guests.

Time Magazine in 2012 named Castro as one of the 100 most influential personalities of all time.


President Mukherjee, PM Modi Condole Castro’s Death

President of India Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to offer condolences to Fidel Castro. Modi also extended support to the Cuban government and the people of Cuba.


Castro was the Third Longest-Serving Leader in the World

Fidel Castro led Cuba for five decades and was the world's third longest-serving head of state, after Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the King of Thailand.

He temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul in July 2006 after undergoing intestinal surgery. The handover of power became official in 2008.

Castro turned 90 this year on 13 August.


Elusive From Public

He wrote hundreds of columns for the official media. Stooped and walking with difficulty, Castro was seen in public twice in 2012 and twice in 2013.

He was last seen in public on 8 January 2014, at the opening of a cultural centre, though photos of visiting dignitaries at the Castro home appeared after that.


He Delivered the Longest Ever Speech in the UN

Castro holds the record for the longest speech ever delivered to the United Nations: 4 hours and 29 minutes, on 26 September 1960, according to the UN website.

One of his longest speeches on record lasted 7 hours and 30 minutes on 24 February 1998, after the national assembly re-elected him to a five-year term as president.


Survived Multiple Assassination Attempts

Castro claimed he survived 634 attempts or plots to assassinate him, mainly masterminded by the Central Intelligence Agency and US-based exile organisations.

They may have included poison pills, a toxic cigar, exploding mollusks, and a chemically tainted diving suit.

Another alleged plan involved giving him powder that would make his beard fall out and so undermine his popularity.

Despite the plots, a US-backed exile invasion at the Bay of Pigs and five decades of economic sanctions, Castro outlasted nine US presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, stepping down while George W Bush was in office.


Castro’s Love for Cuban Cigars

Castro used to chomp on Cuban cigars but gave them up in 1985.

Years later he summed up the harm of smoking tobacco by saying: "The best thing you can do with this box of cigars is give them to your enemy."


Castro Family: Nine Children From Five Women

Castro had nine children from five women. His eldest son Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, who is the image of his father and is known as Fidelito, is a Soviet-trained nuclear scientist born in 1949 out of his brief marriage to Mirta Diaz-Balart.

Daughter Alina Fernandez, the result of an affair with a Havana socialite when Castro was underground in the 1950s, escaped from Cuba disguised as a tourist in 1993 and is a vocal critic.

Castro has five sons with his common-law wife since the 1960s, Dalia Soto del Valle.

He also has a son and a daughter born to two other women with whom he had affairs before coming to power.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Topics:  Cuba   Fidel Castro 

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