This time it’s real.
Fidel Castro, the former Cuban leader who came to power in 1959 and became one of the longest serving rulers in the world, is dead at the age of 90. The news of his death was announced by Cuban state television. The time of death was stated as being 10:29 pm EST on November 25.
Castro came to power in after launching a guerrilla war against then-ruler Fulgencio Batista in 1956 with his brother Raul and Che Guevarra. After initially stating that he would be friendly with the U.S. he eventually announced Cuba to be a socialist state and aligned himself with the Soviet Union. The decades that followed showed severe tensions as Castro used Cuba as a proxy for the Cold War with events such as the U.S. trade embargo, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and most of all the Cuban Missile Crisis that had the world on the brink of nuclear war.
Even after the fall of the U.S.S.R. Castro’s lack of relations with the U.S. showed itself in incidents like the February 24, 1996 encounter between the Cuban Air Force and planes from Brothers To The Rescue, a Miami-based anti-Castro group, that resulted in the American planes being blown from the sky and the saga of the custody battle for then six-year-old Elian Gonzalez in 2000. Castro eventually ceded power to his brother Raul in 2008 as his health steadily declined.
Castro’s impact on world affairs will be mixed depending of where one is from but nowhere outside of Cuba has it been or will be felt more personally than in Miami, FL where the Cuban exile community has made its home. Whether it was the middle to upper class citizens escaping the early years, the Marielitos which came in the late 1970s, or the ‘balseros’ that escaped in makeshift rafts in the post Soviet era that still come to this day, the Cuban-American community has seen Castro as a man that has split families for generations. As news of Castro’s death became public gatherings in Cuban staples such as Versailles Restaurant in Calle Ocho and La Carreta restaurant in Bird Road sprung up in celebration of his death.