By Devin Green
To many, even the name Castro elicits a powerful image in the mind. Some may think of a communist tyrant who took Cuba by force. Others picture a hero who freed Cuba and protected it from powerful outsiders. The split over Fidel Castro is so grand that one would think they were hearing of two completely different people. Whether or not they hate him or love him, no one can deny the impact he had on the world, and the impact of his death.
For those who don’t know of him, Castro was the leader of the communist world in the west. After his attempt at winning the presidency through election was thwarted by U.S. backed Fulgencio Batista’s overthrow of the government, he created his own revolution. Along with revolutionary Che Guevara, he took power of Cuba. He allied himself with the communist U.S.S.R. and that’s when tensions with the U.S. began
The U.S. and Communist nations have always had very tense relations and when Cuba a became communist country there were concerns. Relations hit rock bottom when the U.S.S.R. began storing nukes in Cuba, only 100 miles away from the U.S. This began the Cuban missile crisis, a 13 day standoff which threatened to begin World War III. The U.S government surrounded Cuba and attempted to force them to give up the weapons and for a while they refused. After negotiations, the U.S.S.R. made Cuba remove the weapons and the U.S. secretly promised to remove weapons from Turkey.
One event that can rival the tension of the Cuban missile crisis was the Bay of Pigs invasion. The U.S., in an effort to overthrow Fidel Castro, launched a full scale assault on Cuba. The government sent American-trained Cubans, who had fled Castro’s regime, into the nation with the goal of taking Cuba. Within a single day the invading force was crushed by the Cuban military and the invasion was torn apart. This was just one attempt to overthrow the new Cuban government.
Today, Cuba is under the control of Fidel’s brother Raul Castro and Fidel has fallen. Fidel passed control to his brother long before his death but, his passing will still have great affects on the nation. Fidel Castro survived numerous assassination attempts by the U.S government but at the age of 95, time caught up to him. His death is even more significant when we consider the U.S.’s attempts to rebuild relations with the Cuban government.
With Fidel Castro dead, the leadership of Cuba is in the hands of Raul Castro. It is up to him to reopen trade and travel with America as he pleases. A major political shake up in the U.S. coupled with the fall of Cuba’s former leader could even serve to close these negotiations entirely. The future is uncertain but, Fidel Castro’s legacy will be remembered by both his friends and enemies for years to come.