• Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

Fidel Castro, the leader who did not fear death


Nov 25, 2021

(CNN Spanish) – For both his followers and his detractors, Fidel Castro was a key figure in the history of the 20th century. Few leaders have generated so much found passion. Five years after his death, he is still admired and even idolized as a living revolutionary legend.

He was also hated and despised as a tyrannical dictator. Whatever the opinion about Fidel Castro, few can say that he has left people indifferent.

Castro came to power in 1959 after leading the popular revolution that defeated then-dictator Fulgencio Batista. He died on November 25, 2016, in Havana, Cuba, at the age of 90.

Read: 10 famous phrases of Fidel Castro

Very soon the leftist ideology of the guerrillas collided with that of the United States, leading the new regime on the island to ally with the Soviet Union in the middle of the Cold War.

Washington responded with an economic and political embargo against Cuba.

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans left the country while the millions who remained on the island ended up being part of a great experiment to create the so-called new man. A socialist society with a single party and led by a single man, the charismatic but temperamental Fidel Castro.

For Miriam Leyva, a former Castro member, Fidel “implanted here that he who does not like to leave, therefore divided the families. He destroyed a Cuban institution as fundamental as the family.”

The revolution provided education and health for all: racial integration became a reality.

According to José Ramón Fernández, General of Division (of the reserve) and former vice president, “in the social order in this country it has not been achieved by any poor country, not even some rich ones, despite being subjected to great pressure.”

But the price was freedom, according to the son of one of the founders of the Cuban communist party: “The dreams of freedom that they had for the Cuban people turned into a nightmare,” said dissident Vladimiro Roca.

Castro was never able to achieve economic prosperity for his people, not even when the Soviet Union subsidized the economy.

He always blamed the United States and the economic embargo for the impoverishment of his country.

But many blame Castro for his insistence on maintaining an inefficient and anachronistic socialist model. A model in which everything was controlled by the State and the Communist Party.

Thousands of opponents – disqualified by the regime as traitors in the service of imperialism – were imprisoned or sent into exile.

During his last years in power, opposition and repression grew.

But despite international criticism, Castro insisted that he had never violated human rights.

Above all else, Castro was a proud and stubborn man who firmly believed in his revolution.

“That allowed him to lead the revolution … Start a reform process in Cuba in the 60s and part of the 70s,” explains Elizardo Sánchez, a human rights activist.

Even detractors like Sánchez admit that although Castro’s popularity waned over the years, his intelligence and cunning aroused respect and fear.

It survived not only countless attacks, but also 11 US presidential administrations that somehow sought the end of the revolution

In the end, it was years and illness, not Washington, that forced him to retire. He handed power over to his brother Raúl in February 2008.

In his later years, Castro’s voice was rarely heard, and through essays with his signature published in state newspapers.

Yet Castro always insisted that he was not afraid of death.

The leader of the Cuban Revolution died at the age of 90 on November 25, 2016.

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