Fidel Castro an iconic leader: UN
At Fidel Castro's memorial tribute, president of the UN General Assembly said he was "one of the 20th century's most iconic and influential leaders." On the ceremony that took place on Tuesday, Peter Thompson said that Castro for many people "embodied the struggle of the global south for independence, justice and development." 30 speakers representing different groups/countries except the Western countries were present.
Fidel Castro began his political career by joining Partido Ortodoxo, an anticommunist party in 1947. As early as 1953, Castro made his first attempt to overthrow General Fulgencio Batista by attacking the Moncada military barracks outside of Santiago de Cuba but failed. Castro was tried and imprisoned for 15 years. He was released in 1955 and met Argentinian Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who joined Castro.
In 1958, Batista launched a massive offensive, accompanied by air force bombers and naval offshore units on Castro's forces. The guerrillas launched a counterattack and took over power from Batista on 1 January 1959. Castro reached Havana a week after and took over as Cuba's Prime Minister. At the same time, revolutionary tribunals started adjudicating and executing members of Batista's government for war crimes.
Castro declared Cuba a socialist state in 1961. On 17 April 1961, US attacked Cuba by sending 1,400 Cuban exiles to the Bay of Pigs in an endeavor to overthrow Castro. The attack was a disaster, with hundreds of insurgents dead and almost 1,000 arrested. On this pretext, Castro called off elections on 1 May. In 1962, US announced an economic embargo on Cuba.
Other than the Bay of Pigs invasion, the United States made many unsuccessful attempts on Fidel Castro's life, including poisoning his cigars with botox, sending a fungus-infected scuba-diving suit and carrying out a mafia-style shooting.
Castro brought a number of reforms to Cuba: abolished legal discrimination, provided full employment, brought electricity to the countryside, built new schools and medical facilities. However, his regime shut down opposition, curtailed newspaper's freedom and jailed thousands of political adversaries. Private business was abolished and elections were put off indefinitely. Forced emigration became a part of Castro's regime to get rid of unwanted people.
In 1980, almost 120,000 Cubans left Cuba for America. Castro opened the port of Mariel to allow exiled Cubans to claim their relatives (Castro loaded the ships with Cuban mental patients, prison inmates and other social undesirables).
Fidel Castro financially aided a number of leftist guerilla movements in Latin America and Africa from 1960s - 1980s. On 31 July 2006, Castro's brother Raúl Castro took over as the country's temporary leader after Fidel underwent surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding. On 19 February 2008, Fidel Castro (81 then) permanently gave up the Cuban presidency due to his failing health.
Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution gave a rare speech on the last day of the country's communist party congress. The speech where Castro acknowledged his age is being interpreted as a goodbye speech by the party loyalists. It had earlier been announced that Cuba's President, Raul Castro (Fidel Castro's brother) would remain party chief for another five years.
The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro made an exceptional public appearance to mark his 90th birthday. Cuba through a large street gala was also held in the capital and fireworks exploded to commemorate the leader's birthday. A veteran Cuban cigar-maker dedicated to Castro the world's longest cigar which was 90m long and took 10 days to finish.
According to Cuba's state television, Fidel Castro, Cuba's former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died at the age of 90. His brother and Cuban President Raul Castro announced his death on the state television. He was the PM of the country from 1959 to 1976 and then served as President from 1976 to 2008.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will lead the Indian delegation as they go to pay their respects to Fidel Castro at his funeral. The delegation will have members from all Indian parties including the CPI, CPI (M), SP and Congress among others and will depart for Havana tomorrow. The composition of the delegation is still being worked out by the PMO and Home Ministry.
Thousands of Cuban citizens queued up outside the Revolution Square in the capital Havana to pay their respects to Fidel Castro; this is the first public commemorative event during the nine days of mourning. Citizens said "Fidel is everything to us, the soul of this country who gave everything." A nine-storey-tall picture of Castro towered above those queuing to pay their respects.
Several western leaders have chosen to not attend Fidel Castro's funeral; Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Theresa May will send representatives instead. Surprisingly Vladimir Putin will also not attend; however, Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, El-Salvador's Salvador Sanchez Ceren, Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto will attend. South Africa's Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe will also attend.