President Barack Obama Orders All U.S. Flag Be Hung At Half Mast For 30 Days Of Mourning
Longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the bearded, cigar-smoking Communist revolutionary who infuriated the United States, inspired both loyalty and loathing from his countrymen and maintained an iron grip on Cuban politics for almost 50 years, died Friday at the age of 90.
Castro, who was the only leader most of his countrymen ever knew, outlasted 11 US presidents since he first took power in 1959.
Castro had been in declining health for years – he continued to spew his anti-American tirades almost until the end.
In October, 2014, Castro reprinted a New York Times editorial in state-run media that argued that the U.S. embargo on Cuba should end. The editorial ran almost verbatim, omitting one line about Cuba’s release of political prisoners.
In 2012 he wrote an opinion piece for a state-run media outlet in which he branded the Republican presidential primary race "the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance" the world has ever seen.
And just to show how much his volatile presence lingered in American politics, despite officially handing over power to his brother Raul in 2008, Castro also was the subject of a question during a Republican candidates' debate in Tampa, Fla. that same month.
When Mitt Romney was asked the first thing he would do as president if he found out Castro was dead, he replied, "Well first of all, you thank heavens that Fidel Castro has returned to his maker and will be sent to another land."
When it was his turn to answer, Newt Gingrich said, "I don't think that Fidel is going to meet his maker. I think he's going to go to the other place."