Death of FC

Rory Carroll “Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader, dies aged 90”


As in life, Castro was deeply divisive in death. The announcement of his death was greeted by thousands online with celebration and condemnation of the “cruel dictator” and his repressive regime.

Others mourned the passing of “a fighter of US imperialism” and a “charismatic icon”.

In Miami, home to the largest diaspora of expatriate Cubans, people took to the streets celebrating his death, singing, dancing, and waving Cuban flags.

Despite the mixed reactions to his death, one thing all could agree on was that this extraordinary figure left his mark on history.

His greatest legacy is free healthcare and education, which have given Cuba some of the region’s best human development statistics. But he is also responsible for the central planning blunders and stifling government controls that – along with the US embargo – have strangled the economy, leaving most Cubans scrabbling for decent food and desperate for better living standards.

The man who famously declared “history will absolve me” leaves a divided legacy. Older Cubans who remember brutal times under Batista tend to emphasise the revolution’s accomplishments. Younger Cubans are more likely to rail against gerontocracy, repression and lost opportunity. But even they refer to Castro by the more intimate name of Fidel.

Since largely vanishing from public view he has been a spectral presence, occasionally surfacing in what became a trademark tracksuit, to urge faith in the revolution. It was a long goodbye which accustomed Cubans to his mortality.

Exiles in Florida, the heart of the diaspora which fled communist rule, are expected to celebrate. Previous false reports of Castro’s death triggered cavalcades of cheering, flag-waving revellers.

Latin America’s leftist leaders, in contrast, will mourn the passing of a figure who was perceived less as a communist and more as a nationalist symbol of regional pride and defiance against the gringo superpower. The funeral is expected to attract numerous foreign heads of state, intellectuals and artists.


A man of great charisma. He’s brave, Fidel Castro. A politician, with an iron fist. He stays strong. He put his close friend [General Arnaldo Ochoa, executed for treason in July 1989] in front of the firing squad.

I would have given him a life sentence or expelled him from the country, but he had him shot.
(Nadia Khomami and Claire Phipps “Fidel Castro: Cuba declares nine days of national mourning – live updates” )

See also
Rory Carroll and Jonathan Watts “Castro’s legacy: how the revolutionary inspired and appalled the world”