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Jan­uary 1, 1959 — Cas­tro’s rebels take power as dic­ta­tor Ful­gen­cio Batista flees Cuba.

IJune 1960 — Cuba na­tion­alises USowned oil re­finer­ies af­ter they refuse to process Soviet oil. Nearly all other US busi­nesses ex­pro­pri­ated by Oc­to­ber.

IOc­to­ber 1960 — Wash­ing­ton bans ex­ports to Cuba, other than food and medicine.

IApril 16, 1961 — Cas­tro de­clares Cuba a so­cial­ist state.

IApril 17, 1961 — Bay of Pigs: CIAbacked Cuban ex­iles stage failed in­va­sion.

IFe­bru­ary 7, 1962 — Wash­ing­ton bans all Cuban im­ports.

IOc­to­ber 1962 — US block­ade forces re­moval of Soviet nu­clear mis­siles from Cuba. US Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy agrees pri­vately not to in­vade Cuba.

IMarch 1968 — Cas­tro’s gov­ern­ment takes over al­most all pri­vate busi­nesses.

IApril 1980 — Mariel boatlift: Cuba says any­one can leave; some 125,000 Cubans flee.

IDe­cem­ber 1991 — Col­lapse of Soviet Union dev­as­tates Cuban econ­omy.

IAu­gust 1994 — Cas­tro de­clares he will not stop Cubans try­ing to leave; some 40,000 take to the sea head­ing for United States.

IMarch 18, 2003 — 75 Cuban dis­si­dents sen­tenced to prison.

IJuly 31, 2006 — Cas­tro an­nounces he has had op­er­a­tion, tem­po­rar­ily cedes power to brother Raul.

IFe­bru­ary 19, 2008 — Cas­tro re­signs as pres­i­dent.

IJuly 2010 — Cas­tro re-emerges af­ter years in seclu­sion, vis­it­ing a sci­en­tific in­sti­tute, giv­ing a TV in­ter­view, talk­ing to aca­demics and even tak­ing in a dol­phin show at the aquar­ium.

IApril 19, 2011 — Cas­tro is re­placed by his brother Raul as first sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Party, the last of­fi­cial post he held. The el­der Cas­tro made a brief ap­pear­ance at the Congress, look­ing frail as a young aide guided him to his seat.

IApril 19, 2016 —Cas­tro de­liv­ers a vale­dic­tory speech at the Com­mu­nist Party’s sev­enth Congress, declar­ing that “soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban com­mu­nists will re­main.”

IINovem­ber 25, 2016 — Fidel Cas­tro dies. Ail­ing for more than a decade, Cas­tro passed away at 10:29 p.m. on Fri­day.

His legacy in Cuba and else­where has been a mixed record of so­cial progress and ab­ject poverty, of racial equal­ity and po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion, of med­i­cal ad­vances and a de­gree of mis­ery com­pa­ra­ble to the con­di­tions that ex­isted in Cuba when he en­tered Ha­vana as a vic­to­ri­ous guer­rilla com­man­der in 1959. That im­age made him both a sym­bol of revo­lu­tion through­out the world and an in­spi­ra­tion to many im­i­ta­tors.

He de­fied the United States for nearly half a cen­tury as Cuba’s no-non­sense leader, a thorn in the side of 11 Amer­i­can pres­i­dents.


Fol­low­ing his death, many Cubans on the is­land de­scribed Fidel Cas­tro as a tow­er­ing fig­ure who brought Cuba free health care, ed­u­ca­tion and true in­de­pen­dence from the United States, while sad­dling the coun­try with an os­si­fied po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sys­tem that has left streets and build­ings crum­bling and young, ed­u­cated elites flee­ing in search of greater pros­per­ity abroad.

For Cubans off the is­land, Cas­tro’s death was cause for cel­e­bra­tion. In Mi­ami, the heart of the Cuban di­as­pora, thou­sands of peo­ple banged pots with spoons, waved Cuban and United States flags in the air and whooped in ju­bi­la­tion.

The Cuban gov­ern­ment de­clared nine days of mourn­ing for Cas­tro, in­clud­ing a three-day jour­ney with his ashes from Ha­vana to the eastern city of San­ti­ago in a pro­ces­sion re­trac­ing his rebel army’s vic­to­ri­ous sweep from the Sierra Maes­tra to Ha­vana.

State ra­dio and tele­vi­sion were filled with non-stop trib­utes to Cas­tro, play­ing hours of footage of his time in power and in­ter­views with prom­i­nent Cubans af­fec­tion­ately re­mem­ber­ing him. Bars shut, base­ball games and con­certs were sus­pended and many restau­rants stopped serv­ing al­co­hol and planned to close early. Of­fi­cial news­pa­pers were pub­lished yes­ter­day with only black ink in­stead of the usual bright red or blue mast­heads.

Cas­tro’s ashes are to be in­terred on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 4 at the Santa Ifi­ge­nia ceme­tery.

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