Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba, known to be one of the world’s longest-serving, non-royal leader of the 20th century, has died aged 90.
The news of his death was announced on state television in Havana early on Saturday, November 26, by Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and current president of Cuba.
The leader of the 1959 revolution, which overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, defied the US efforts to topple him for five decades, surviving many assassination plots before ill health led him to make way for his brother Raul, 84, in 2006.
In his final years, Fidel Castro lived in relative seclusion, but occasionally wrote opinion pieces or appeared in meeting with visiting dignitaries.
Reporting from Santiago, Chile, Al Jazeera’s Latin America Editor Lucia Newman, said the death of the iconic leader hardly came as a surprise. According to Newman;
“He has been a larger-than-life figure who inspired a revolutionary movement all over the world, especially in Latin America,”
“As time has gone by, we have been hearing less and less from Fidel Castro. We all know he has been ill for a decade and was not been seen since August after his birthday, which was celebrated across the country.
“His death is going to have an enormous emotional impact on Cubans. It does really feel like the beginning of the end of the Castro era”.
Expressing sadness over the news of Castro’s death, Sariel Valdespino, resident of Havana, said: “I am very upset. Whatever you want to say, he is a public figure who was respected and loved.”
In contrast, exiled Cubans in Florida celebrated his death in the streets of Miami’s Little Havana. Videos posted on social media showed people opening bottles of champagne, honking their car horns and banging on pots and pans.
The US government spent more than $1bn trying to kill, undermine or otherwise force Castro from power, but he endured unscathed before old age and disease finally took him.