The passing of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was announced many times during his life, only to be refuted, often by a photo of him clutching a dated copy of the Communist party mouthpiece Granma. When his brother President Raúl Castro confirmed on 25 November that Fidel, 90, had succumbed to old age, the ledger of his political life could finally be opened and examined. Although he had become almost a recluse for the last decade, the news of Fidel’s death reverberated around the world. It has a huge symbolic resonance. Fidel was the heart of the Cuban Revolution; Raúl, the head. His death might remove some of the constraints on Raúl pertaining to economic reform, although with the advent of Donald Trump as the US president all bets are off.

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