After his death, students consider Fidel Castro’s legacy

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Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of controversy and political tension.

To many across the nation, especially people of Cuban descent, Castro is a brutal dictator and Soviet sympathizer whose regime starved, tortured, and executed many of its citizens.

By others, he is respected for his involvement in the fight against oppressive white South Africans, and his meeting with Malcom X in Harlem in 1961. Nevertheless, Castro’s bold leadership has impacted the lives of millions of citizens across many nations.

Fidel Castro passed away on Nov. 25, 2016. His death was met with cheering on the streets of Miami, and highly criticized eulogies from world leaders like Justin Truadeau and Barack Obama. Opinions on Castro’s legacy are wide-ranging.

“He’s awful,” said Jack Castro (’20) said of Castro and his legacy. “I definitely don’t think his death should be mourned.”

His opinion alines with those in the Cuban community, many of whom have family members who found themselves without food in his regime.

This fact brings another important important discussion to table. Although we can choose to remember a man who made improvements to healthcare and education, lowered the illiteracy rate in Cuba drastically and fought to end racism around the world, we must not forgot the man who persecuted political opponents, murdered those trying to flee his dictatorship and separated Cubans from their family members.

Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1957 and implemented his communist regime.

“In the beginning it was good,” said Lilliam Clavijo (’17), a first-generation Cuban-American, said of the time following Batista’s displacement. “But what started out as an inherently good system became something very corrupt.”

From 1959 to 2008, under the titles of dictator and president, Castro found himself directly in the middle of controversy. Whether it be the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs invasion, or countless conspiracy theories and assassination attempts, Castro impacted the world in both positive and negative ways.