Cuba’s state television has confirmed the death of their former leader Fidel Castro. This happens at a historic time in this country when relations with Cuba are on the mend and travel between the United States and Cuba is now allowed. Castro’s career as a politician came to prominence when he planned to overthrow Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. He did not succeed. He regrouped after serving a year in prison and joined forces with his brother, Raul, and the beloved revolutionary Che Guevara. The next attempt to overthrow Batista was successful. Castro rose to power and ultimately became Prime Minister of Cuba.
Castro was a thorn in the side of the United States because of his relation with the Soviet Union. This relationship led to the Bay Of Pigs invasion in 1961; the invasion was an attempt to overthrow Castro. It failed. The relationship forged with the Soviet Union grew stronger as a result of the United States’ actions. Castro allowed the Soviet Union to place nuclear weapons on the island. This prompted the Cuban Missile Crisis and was a turning point in the Cold War of 1962.
In February of 1962, President John F. Kennedy established an embargo against Cuba to reduce “the threat posed by its alignment with communist powers.” The embargo included almost all imports from Cuba. This embargo helped to cripple the country’s economy and caused many of the country’s elite to flee the country for resettlement in the United States. The large concentration of Cubans in Miami is a direct reflection of this mass flight.
A vote by the United Nation in 2015 urged the United States to lift the economic embargo against Cuba. Last December, President Barack Obama ordered full restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Travel restrictions have been eased. The 56-year-old embargo is only allowed to be lifted by congress.
In 2008, Fidel stepped down as president of Cuba after falling ill. He handed over power to his brother Raul Castro who currently holds the position.
Raul, Castro’s brother and the nation’s President of several years announced Fidel’s death Friday on Cuban TV. He was 90.