Fidel Castro – Cuba’s revolutionary leader – August 13 1926 to November 25 2016

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader, died last Friday aged 90.

He governed Cuba as a one-party Soviet-style state for 47 years.

He was Prime Minister from 1959 until 1976 and President from 1966 until 2008.

Pope Francis’s condolence message to Raul Castro expressed his “sentiments of grief”. He promised to pray for Fidel.

Like Castro, Francis often speaks out against unregulated capitalism.

Castro’s relationship with the Church was often speculated about.

Jesuit-educated, he followed a Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Believing the Church was a state enemy, he declared Cuba an atheist state.

He seized all Cuba’s church-run schools, shut down Church publications and expelled numerous priests.

Many were sent to “re-education camps”.

He was rumoured to have been excommunicated by Pope John XXIII in 1962.

The reasons for this are supposed to be for affiliating with the Communist Part of Cuba, preaching communism and supporting a communist government.

Pius XII’s “Decree against Communism” is said to have provided the basis for the excommunication.

Whether Castro was excommunicated has never been confirmed.

He did, however, meet three Popes.

They were St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

All three helped broker the restoration of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba.

This repaired a breakdown between the countries’ relationship that began when the US embargoed exports to Cuba after Castro nationalised American-owned Cuban oil refineries without compensation.

The only goods the US would trade were except for food and medicine.

Pope Francis clinched the reconciliation last year.

Fidel Castro believed Christianity and revolutionary socialism were compatible beliefs.

“If people call me Christian, not from the standpoint of religion but from the standpoint of social vision, I declare that I am a Christian,” he said in 2006.



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News category: New Zealand.