Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro Dead At 90

Cuban leader Raul Castro has announced the death of his brother, Fidel Castro, at the age of 90. Castro had been in ill health for many years. Castro ruled Cuba as a Soviet-style dictatorship from 1959, when his forces overthrew military dictator Fulgencio Batista, to 2008, when he stepped down and handed over the leadership to his younger brother, Raul. Cuba's alignment with the Soviet Union and anti-U.S. foreign policy led to an economic embargo of the island.  In 1961, exile Cuban forces attempted to overthrow the Castro regime in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.  Castro later allowed the positioning of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba, causing 1962's Cuban missile crisis, which brought the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war before the missiles were removed by the Soviets.

U.S. relations with Cuba thawed under President Obama who initiated the move toward full diplomatic relations, which were finally restored in July 2015 despite a continuing commercial and financial embargo of Cuba. Relations with Cuba have long been a sore point for thousands of conservative anti-Castro Cubans who fled Cuba and who largely reside in Florida, although younger generations have tended to favor better relations with Cuba.

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