Nov 26, 2016. (San Diego) Fidel Castro passed overnight at tje age of 90. He was the leader of the Cuban revolution that overthrew the Bautista regime. That regime was firmly in the United States orbit, and Castro aligned himself with the Soviet Union. This was at the height of the Cold War. Nikita Khrushchev treated the island as a distant base and tried to bring nuclear missiles to the island.
The Cuban Misfile crisis of Oct. 1963 almost led to world war three. In the end the United Ststes and the Soviet Union backed down. The Russians removed the missiles from Cuba. Less known, tje United States removed them from Turkey.
Over the next half a century the US tried an embargo that did not quite work. The island remained insular and away from the American sphere. The Island did push a socialist project including access to universal healthcare and education.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s Castro imposed some market reforms. This started the changes to tje economy that continue to this day.
Two years ago the Barak Obama administration started the effort to normalize relations. This includes the end of the embargo and opening of diplomatic relations, albeit limited. Tje incoming Trump administration has already said they are ready to reverse course.
This is the official statement from the Department of State.
We extend our condolences to the Cuban people today as they mourn the passing of Fidel Castro. Over more than half a century, he played an outsized role in their lives, and he influenced the direction of regional, even global affairs.
As our two countries continue to move forward on the process of normalization — restoring the economic, diplomatic and cultural ties severed by a troubled past — we do so in a spirit of friendship and with an earnest desire not to ignore history but to write a new and better future for our two peoples.
The United States reaffirms its support for deepening our engagement with the Cuban people now and in coming years.