Fidel Castro, former dictator and leader of the communist revolution that overtook the Caribbean island of Cuba in 1959, has died at age 90. Cuban State TV announced this on November 25th, 2016; there was no further information released. Castro’s death is not surprising, as the 90 year old has largely stepped out of the public eye since he ceded power to his brother, Raul Castro, in 2008 after his health deteriorated to the point he was no longer able to responsibly govern. A lifelong communist, Castro has been a highly controversial figure since his 26th of July movement, which began in 1953, finally succeeded in its goal of a communist state in Cuba on January 1st, 1959, and promptly began aiding other socialist revolutions from Latin America to Africa to Indochina.
Supporters praise him as a devoted champion of Socialism, anti-imperialism, and humanitarianism, while detractors view him as a totalitarian dictator whose administration has overseen multiple human rights abuses an exodus of over one million Cubans fleeing his rule, and an overall impoverishment of his nation. From his meager beginnings as the child of a sugar farmer to the leader of his nation, Castro was undeniably an important figure in the history of the western hemisphere.