Fidel Castro dies in Cuba


Illustration by Dina Arakcheyeva/The Pioneer

Louis LaVenture,

The former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, died from undisclosed reasons on Nov. 25, according to his brother Raul Castro, the current president of the country.

Fidel led a revolution in Cuba that culminated in him residing as prime minister and president for more than 49 years under a communist regime. Fidel led the revolution that overthrew then Cuban President Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Most people know that Cuban cigars were illegal here in the United States for a long time, but the Castro regime reaches much further than that.

Raul was appointed as temporary president in 2006 when Fidel became too ill to do the job. Raul’s position became permanent just a little more than two years later in 2008. He previously served as the Minister of Armed Forces in Cuba for 49 years from 1959 to 2008.

The country began a nine-day mourning period for the former dictator, which included a four-day journey around the country so citizens can view his ashes. Fidel was cremated immediately after his death, according to a statement from Raul, who also said the government is taking care of all the arrangements and expenses, according to the Associated Press.

The journey of his ashes is a lengthy one — more than 500 miles — that traced the physical steps he took to overthrow the country in reverse. The journey began in the hills where he last resided and will end with a funeral in Havana on Sunday before he will be taken to his final resting place in Santiago.

Thousands of Cubans have lined the streets over the last week to catch a glimpse of the former leader and honor the man who was loved and hated by many, according to the AP.

Despite his largely negative reputation here in the United States, dignitaries from all over the world attended a farewell event in Cuba on Tuesday to pay their respects to the deceased former leader.

Representatives from Russia, Iran, China, South Africa, Vietnam and across Latin America attended the event and praised him in front of thousands of mourning Cubans.

In recent years, President Barack Obama tried to reestablish a relationship between the U.S. and Cuba but was unsuccessful. Despite the tumultuous relationship, Obama sent his National Security Adviser, Benjamin Rhodes, to the event, although he did not speak. It was Rhodes who spearheaded the negotiations between the two countries, according to the AP.