And yet he made it to 90. ¡Hasta la victoria siempre, Alejandro!
Fidel Castro was a very controversial figure - but to understand him, you have to see him in context. I wrote this: amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/184739…
He could be a harsh dictator. There were summary executions (at the beginning), imprisonments of journalists, harassment of opponents.
At the same time, he was a big, swaggering bastard who threw out mafia, beat the USA and made Cuba a world player. Many loved him for that.
And the Cuban govt's achievements in healthcare, education, welfare etc are real - though balanced by equally real losses of freedoms.
One more thing - my book looked at the three big independent Caribbean nations in the 1950s & early 60s. Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic.
All were dictatorships. Batista's Cuba, Papa Doc Duvalier's Haiti & Trujillo's DR were all horrific and (to an extent) US-supported.
Compared to what went before & what else was happening in Caribbean, Fidel's revolution by far the least toxic regime. Very popular at time.
The legacy of slavery & plunderous colonialism had brutalised the Caribbean and ensured kleptocratic, murderous dictatorships.
In that context, Fidel Castro - even with all his enormous flaws - looked like a liberator to many.