the Short of It:
Over the weekend, Fidel Castro died at age 90 after years of battling health issues which led to a giant party in Miami's Little Havana and displaced families across the U.S.
The Longer Version of It:
Castro is the Cuban dictator who brought a socialist revolution to the island over half a century ago. While some view his actions as coming from a heroic president, many Cubans who fled to the United States during his despotism view him as a brutal dictator who turned back on his word and drove Cuba's economy into the ground as he isolated the country from the rest of the world.
If you forgot:
After kicking out the country's former dictator Fulgencio Batista, Castro came into power in the late 50s. Thousands of people connected to Batista and those who questioned Castro's motives and action were executed. With that, thousands of Cubans took flight to nearby Miami. He embarrassed President Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs invasion, outlasted 10 US Presidents and 500 assassination attempts. He also almost pushed the world into nuclear war by letting the Soviets build missile launch sites on Cuban soil during the Cold War. This final act caused the freeze of US-Cuba relations which has only started to thaw two years ago-- while Jet Blue will fly you over there for cheap, an economic embargo that still exists today. Back in 2008, Castro officially passed the sword onto his younger brother Raul in 2008 ( because dictatorship/ nepotism). By the time of Fidel's death, he lacked the full real power he'd run his country with and acted mostly a symbol of the country's revolution.
Since the power has been in his brother's hands, the island has worked to open up its economy. Whether Fidel's death will lead to more reforms is yet to be determined. While, the US and Cuba have spent the past two years attempting to normalize relations (i.e. opening embassies, loosening travel limitations) the U.S.'s president-elect, Donald Trump, looks to be not altogether on board with the changes. After hearing of Fidel's death, Trump condemned him as a "brutal dictator," and a statement from his team announced that Cuba would need to change directions (hint: free political prisoners, expand religious freedoms) if it wants to keep being friendly with the US.
It's all TBD on what the death of one of the most well-known leaders in the world, will do for international politics. Now, all eyes are on Trump to see how US-Cuban relations will go.