Published: 26 November 2016 Saturday, 12:07 PM
Cuban revolutionary leader and ex-president Fidel Castro has died aged 90, according to Cuban state television and agencies quoting Raul Castro, his brother and current president.
The former revolutionary had been frail for some time but recently was still able to meet foreign dignitaries such as the presidents of Vietnam and Portugal.
Fidel Castro was one of the most emblematic world leaders of the 20th century. Alongside Che Guevara he swept to power in a revolution in 1959, ousting the pro-US regime.
Under his watch Cuba allied itself with the communist Soviet bloc and the country became a thorn in America’s side, even though it was on the US’ doorstep. Castro’s leadership survived the Bay of Pigs invasion launched by President Kennedy in 1961, and 30 years later the collapse of the Soviet empire.
A US embargo of Cuba followed, lasting for well over half a century. Relations between the two countries only thawed relatively recently under President Obama.
However Castro’s record on the economy and human rights was severely criticised. Dissidents were imprisoned, and many people on the island remained deprived of basic goods – although the quality of health care and education were praised.