Fidel Castro Ruz, dictator emeritus, died in Havana at age 90.
As a young, recent Law graduate he took up arms to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Determined to rise to power, he promised democratic elections and the reimplementation of the Constitution of 1940.
He began to lead the country in 1959, enjoying immense popularity, but going on to not only fail to deliver on the promises he made to the people, but to quash any hope that they would ever be fulfilled.
He constructed an iron-fisted regime, curtailing every class of freedom. He refined his repressive tactics, crimes and state-perpetrated violence to the point that they were not publicly perceived. And his leadership garnered such great press that the court of international opinion took a long time to acknowledge him as a crusher of freedom. Some still have not.
He drew wedges between families and prompted the greatest numbers of exiles and immigrants in the country's history. Within the country he drew so many distinctions between Cuban nationals and foreigners that being Cuban was converted into an almost disgraceful condition. He erected an extensive prison system throughout the Island, and a sizeable one to house political prisoners.
His narcissism as a statesman, his yearning to go down in history, and be absolved by it, and his geopolitical pretensions, spurred him to shed the blood of many Cubans in military campaigns in other countries and on other continents.
He was the worst administrator in the history of the country. Invoking the justification of egalitarian distribution, he designed crackpot economic projects based on magical solutions and without consulting specialists. Falsely claiming mastery of various branches of knowledge, he ruined an economy that was prosperous and growing when he came to power, and left a country in ruins, with cities that look like that they have been bombed.
In 2006, forced by illness, he had no choice but to cede power to his younger brother, although he continued to exert an influence. The story of his dictatorship was missing but one thing: the conclusion of his death. As he had clung to life, celebrations and mourning had not been possible until now. Now it remains to be seen how he lives on a symbol – of whatever kind.
The dictatorship of Fidel Castro has just come to an end, although the country remains under a dictatorial regime. His body, like those of his minions in power, will be cremated, a funerary solution that gives one an idea of the mistrust felt by this kind of individual, and his relatives, wary of his posthumous acceptance by the Cuban people.