Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies at 90
Fidel Castro—the infamous Cuban leader who reigned for nearly half a century, brought the Cold War to the West in 1959, and nearly pushed the world to nuclear war—has died at age 90 after several years of declining health. His death was announced via Cuban television.
As the New York Times notes, Castro was in power for longer than any other living national leader other than Queen Elizabeth II and became "a towering international figure whose importance in the 20th century far exceed what might have been expected from teh head of state of a Caribbean island nation of 11 million people."
However, in the midst of his continued efforts on his Communist revolution, he had to step aside to tend to his health in 2006, ceding the majority of his younger brother Raúl (now 85) before formally resigning two years later.
Castro controlled every part of Cuba's existence, from the color of Cuban soldiers' uniforms to sending men to prison. Opinions of the power-wielding Cuban leader were split, with some viewing him as a ruthless tyrant; others, an impassioned, fiery revolutionist. President Obama's visit to Cuba in 2016 was the first by a sitting American president in almost a century, though Castro made his distrust of the United States evident all through his life. He became a symbol of defiance of American power and rebellion.