Fidel #Castro -- the communist dictator who led the Cuban #Revolution with an iron hand -- has died. He was 90 years old. It is ironic that the man who executed many of his opponents and was targeted by his enemies, as well as the CIA, died a natural death. Castro will go down in history as a romantic revolutionary who stood up to Uncle Sam and survived to rule for 49 years. He went by his own will when he relinquished office in favor of his younger brother Raul Castro. News of his death was broadcast by CNN. Cuba will mourn his death for 9 days.

Castro an icon?

Fidel Castro was a firebrand who galvanized the youth of the third world. He believed in exporting revolution and his long time friend Che Guevara paid a terrible price when he realized that the model of the Cuban revolution could not be replicated anywhere else. Nevertheless the name of Castro will remain in history as an icon, almost a legend. He defied the might of America and ruled with an iron hand for decades.

Castro and Kennedy

Castro must thank Nikita Khrushchev for his continuance in office as after the Russians had positioned missiles in Cuba in 1962 the US president Kennedy ordered a quarantine. it was not a blockade as essential supplies were let through. With this action, Kennedy did not listen to the hawks who wanted an all-out invasion. Krushchev the realist realized his weakness, agreed to dismantle the missiles but extracted a promise from Kennedy that the US would never destabilize the Castro regime. Thus the Bay of Pigs invasion aided by the CIA was the first and last attempt to overthrow Castro. This did not stop the CIA and his enemies from trying to assassinate him but like the proverbial cat with 9 lives Castro survived to die a natural death.

Hand of friendship and Obama

Castro (though a dictator) is a respected figure in Cuba, where despite all the propaganda he did bring about social change. He handed over the baton to his brother who carried out a sea change in economic policies and accepted the hand offered by #Obama. This could not have been without Castro's concurrence. Obama deserves credit for changing the face of history as he visited Cuba.

Legacy

Castro's legacy will live on, and many in the third world and India have fond memories of him. But the fact is the era of Castro is over and under Raul Castro, Cuba will chart another path. But Castro has done enough to have a place in the world history of the 20th century.