>> That there is no>> Fidel Castro, an iconic revolutionary and one of Latin America's most important political leaders, died Friday.>> Fidel Castro, who->> Cuba declaring nine days of mourning during which Castro's ashes will be taken to different parts of the country. Castro, known by Cubans as El Comandante, was often seen wearing green military fatigues, chomping on cigars, and delivering long, fist-pounding speeches filled with fiery rhetoric against the US.
He was admired by many leftists around the world for transforming Cuba from a playground for rich Americans into a symbol of resistance against Washington, which condemned him as a dictator.>>
> Castro also fended off a CIA backed invasion of the Bay of Pigs in 1961 as well as countless assassination attempts.
His alliance with Moscow helped trigger the Cuban Missile Crisis in a showdown with the US that brought the world to the closest it had been to nuclear war. At home he won support for bringing schools and hospitals to the poor. But he also created enemies and critics, mainly among Cuban exiles who fled to Miami to escape what they describe as his tyrannical rule, which they also blame for Cuba's deep economic crisis.
After outlasting nine US presidents and ruling over Cuba for nearly half a century, Fidel handed over power in 2008 to his brother Raul Castro. Only after developing a serious stomach illness that nearly killed him. As president the younger Castro has taken a different approach introducing economic reforms and, in an historic deal, agreeing to re-establish ties with the US.
That didn't sit well with Fidel who snubbed a public visit by President Obama and followed up with a scathing op-ed criticizing peace talks between the two countries. His failing health preventing him from being seen in public in his final years, Castro often used this method to make his presence felt.