HUFFINGTON POST
11/26/2016 04:28 pm ET Updated Jan 02, 2017

Explore Cuban Leader Fidel Castro's Controversial Life In Photos

Cuba's longtime ruler leaves a divisive legacy.

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro, who died Friday night at the age of 90, reflected on his life and legacy months before his death. 

Just ahead of his last birthday in August, the controversial leader spoke of how he saw his impact on the country he ruled for nearly half a century. “Soon I’ll be 90, something that never would have occurred to me,” he said. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. Our time comes for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will endure.”

Castro’s admirers are remembering him as a revolutionary global figure, his detractors as a tyrannical dictator. Take a look at his remarkable life in photos:

  • Fidel Castro poses for a portrait in 1953.
    Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
    Fidel Castro poses for a portrait in 1953.
  • It was a beardless, rather boyish Fidel Castro who was busy raising funds for a Cuban Revolution in 1955. The scene was New Y
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    It was a beardless, rather boyish Fidel Castro who was busy raising funds for a Cuban Revolution in 1955. The scene was New York City, where Castro was a familiar figure among the city's Cuban leaders.
  • Castro practices shooting in Mexico, during the preparations of 1956 uprising after disembarking from the Granma with 82 men
    OAH/AFP/Getty Images
    Castro practices shooting in Mexico, during the preparations of 1956 uprising after disembarking from the Granma with 82 men starting the guerrilla fighting in the Sierra Maestra in eastern Cuba.
  • Castro gives an autograph to an admirer in Camaguey, Cuba on Jan. 7, 1959. While Cubans awaited Castro's arrival in Havana, c
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    Castro gives an autograph to an admirer in Camaguey, Cuba on Jan. 7, 1959. While Cubans awaited Castro's arrival in Havana, cabinet ministers of the new Cuban government reported to their offices for the first time to begin a new program of reform and reconstruction.
  • Castro sits with his son Fidelito in the Hotel Hilton in Havana in 1959.
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    Castro sits with his son Fidelito in the Hotel Hilton in Havana in 1959.
  • Castro points at a Bengal tiger in a cage at the Bronx Zoo, New York City, on April 24, 1959.
    Meyer Liebowitz/New York Times Co./Getty Images
    Castro points at a Bengal tiger in a cage at the Bronx Zoo, New York City, on April 24, 1959.
  • Seeming quite amused, Castro holds up a newspaper headlining the discovery of a plot to kill him in New York City on April 23
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    Seeming quite amused, Castro holds up a newspaper headlining the discovery of a plot to kill him in New York City on April 23, 1959. Castro survived over 600 assassination attempts in his lifetime, according to Cuban officials. The CIA reportedly once planned to kill him with an exploding cigar and even a poisoned wetsuit.
  • American author Ernest Hemingway speaks with Castro in Cuba in late 1959. In 1960 Hemingway was forced out of his home in Cub
    American Stock Archive via Getty Images
    American author Ernest Hemingway speaks with Castro in Cuba in late 1959. In 1960 Hemingway was forced out of his home in Cuba due to the escalating tensions surrounding the Castro regime and moved to Idaho.
  • Castro enjoys a steak dinner while holding an impromptu press conference at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem during his visit to N
    Underwood Archives via Getty Images
    Castro enjoys a steak dinner while holding an impromptu press conference at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem during his visit to New York to address the United Nations on Sept. 23, 1960.
  • Castro addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 1960. 
    Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
    Castro addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 1960. 
  • Castro addresses a huge crowd in Santiago de Cuba in 1964 on the anniversary of the revolution.
    Jung/ullstein bild via Getty Images
    Castro addresses a huge crowd in Santiago de Cuba in 1964 on the anniversary of the revolution.
  • Castro, left, is photographed with Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna, known as Che Guevara.
    DeAgostini/Getty Images
    Castro, left, is photographed with Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna, known as Che Guevara.
  • Castro speaks at a press conference in 1971.
    Keystone via Getty Images
    Castro speaks at a press conference in 1971.
  • Castro is photographed in his office in Havana, Cuba in 1977.
    David Hume Kennerly via Getty Images
    Castro is photographed in his office in Havana, Cuba in 1977.
  • Chief of Cuba's Armed Forces, Raul Castro, Cuba's cosmonaut, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, Castro and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenk
    PRENSA LATINA/Reuters
    Chief of Cuba's Armed Forces, Raul Castro, Cuba's cosmonaut, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, Castro and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko stand during a reception ceremony at Havana's Jose Marti airport, October 1980, after the cosmonauts returned from their space mission on Soyuz 38.
  • Castro attends a ceremony to inaugurate remodelled schools in Havana on Aug. 13, 2002, his 76th birthday. 
    AFP/Getty Images
    Castro attends a ceremony to inaugurate remodelled schools in Havana on Aug. 13, 2002, his 76th birthday. 
  • Castro greets a girl during a cultural gala to celebrate his 90th birthday in Havana, Cuba on Aug. 13, 2016. 
    Handout/Reuters
    Castro greets a girl during a cultural gala to celebrate his 90th birthday in Havana, Cuba on Aug. 13, 2016. 
CONVERSATIONS