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Fidel Castro in His Own Words

Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader who led a communist revolution and brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere, died on November 25, 2016 at the age of 90.

Over the decades of his tyrannical reign, Castro ruled every aspect of Cuban life and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. His health declining, he stepped down in 2006 and ceded power to his brother Raúl Castro.

Related: How to Be a Role Model, Not a Dictator

Writing in the New York Times, Anthony DePalma described Castro’s time in power thusly: “His legacy in Cuba and elsewhere has been a mixed record of social progress and abject poverty, of racial equality and political persecution, of medical advances and a degree of misery comparable to the conditions that existed in Cuba when he entered Havana as a victorious guerrilla commander in 1959.”

Castro outlasted 11 Unites States presidents since he first seized power. Here are some key quotes from Castro, as gathered by the researchers at NBC News.

On leading the rebellion that led to the Communist Revolution

“Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.”

On his signature beard

“When we fulfill our promise of good government I will cut my beard.”

On the health benefits of cigars

“The best thing you can do with this box of cigars is give them to your enemy.”

On the state of socialism on the 1990s

“We have to stick to the facts and, simply put, the socialist camp has collapsed.”

On communism’s benefits

“One of the greatest benefits of the revolution is that even our prostitutes are college graduates.”

On communism’s sustainability

“The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”

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