POLITICS

Fidel Castro, A Communist Icon Despised And Adored
Over the nearly five decades he ruled Cuba, Fidel Castro became a revolutionary legend and changed the political map of Latin America. He was also at the center of the Cold War and the 1962 missile crisis that brought the world dangerously close to a nuclear war. Here is a sample of images from the long and storied life of the seemingly eternal "Comandante."
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Cuban president Fidel Castro attends a protest against the U.S. embargo of Cuba, November 14, 2000 in front of the United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba. Thousands of foreigners from around the world, including hundreds of Americans, joined Castro to demand an end to the nearly 40-year U.S. embargo of Cuba. 

(Jorge Rey/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

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Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro relaxing at a sugar plantation near Havana, surrounded by children.

(Elizabeth Frey/Getty Images)

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6th May 1963: Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev going up a moving staircase at Moscow amongst a cheering crowd. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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19th February 1962: The crowd at a mass meeting at Jose Marti Revolution Square, Havana, at which the Second Declaration of Havana was read by Cuban revolutionary and prime minister Fidel Castro, and passed. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Cuban leader Fidel Castro entertains a group of people at a dinner table in Harlem during a trip to New York City, while the press takes photographs in the background, 1959.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro (left) and Soviet politician Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev in Moscow. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro during an address in Cuba after Batista was forced to flee in 1959.

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Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro who insisted on having a turn batting at the opening of a baseball tournament in Havana. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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1st August 1962: Left to right, Jose Llanusa, director of the Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation, Prime Minister Fidel Castro and President of the Republic Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado. They are watching a performance st the gymnastic festival in Havana, Cuba, in which 80,000 people participated. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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3rd January 1963: Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro talking with parents of some of the American prisoners held hostage for food and supplies by the Cuban government after the abortive emigre invasion at the Bay of Pigs. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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6th May 1963: Watched by Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev (1894 - 1971), Cuban dictator Fidel Castro takes a photograph of Moscow during his first visit to Russia. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

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In this 1967 photo provided by Felix Rodriguez, Rodriguez, left, is shown with Che Guevara, center, before Guevara was executed in Bolivia. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Felix Rodriguez)

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1979: The Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro, Prime Minister from February 1959, addressing the United Nations in New York. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

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FILE- This Spet. 20, 1960 file photo shows Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, left, and Cuban President Fidel Castro, center, outside the Hotel Theresa in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. Castro was staying at the hotel during his first visit to the United Nations after coming to power. The famed Hotel Theresa closed in 1967. The building where it was located, at 2090 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, was later designated a city landmark and is now an office building. The hotel was called the "Waldorf of Harlem," hosting celebrities from Louis Armstrong to Fidel Castro. (AP Photo/FILE)

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1971: Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro speaking at a press conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Fidel Castro, revolutionary leader of Cuba, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, 1979. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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1st October 1979: Cuban president Fidel Castro addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Fernandez, left, speaks with President Fidel Castro March 22, 2001 during a meeting entitled "Giron, 40 Years Later," in the Palace of the Conventions, in Havana, Cuba. They are taking part in a four day meeting between Cuba and the United States on the upcoming 40th anniversary of the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs by U.S. backed Cuban exiles. The Bay of Pigs is known in Cuba as Playa Giron.

(Jorge Rey/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

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Cuban president Fidel Castro waves a Cuban flag during a protest November 14, 2000 in front of the United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba. Thousands of foreigners from around the world, including hundreds of Americans, joined Castro to demand an end to the nearly 40-year U.S. embargo of Cuba.

(Jorge Rey/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro, right, salutes as he welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin to Cuba December 14, 2000 at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba. Putin is the first President of Russia to visit Cuba since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

(Jorge Rey/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro attends the Latin American and Caribbean Press Congress October 8, 2001 in La Habana, Cuba. 

(Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro addresses the 105th conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Council, April 1, 2001 in Havana, Cuba. Parliamentary leaders from the 140 nations who are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in addition to the Council of Europe and other regional parliamentary bodies, are gathering in Havana for a week-long conference. 

(Jorge Rey/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro, left, and his brother Raul Castro, speak to each other August 3, 2001 during a session of the National Assembly legislature in Havana. The parliament condemned U.S. President George W. Bush''s "cruel" policies on Cuba, and called for the release of five Cuban agents jailed in Miami on spy-related charges. 

(Jorge Rey/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro, left, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez travel onboard a Venezuelan Navy vessel from Porlamar to Pampatar prior a ceremony to promulgate a new Fishing Law, December 11, 2001 at Margarita Island, Venezuela. Castro is in Panpatar to attend the two-day meeting of the Association of Caribbean States.

(Miraflores/Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro casts his vote for delegates of the Municipal Assembly October 20, 2002 in Havana, Cuba. Cubans went to the polls to elect local district representatives of the Municipal Assemblies. The elections mark the first stage of reordering of Cuba's National Assembly.

(Adalberto Roque-Pool/Getty Images)

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Fidel Castro attends a meeting April 18, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. The Cuban government announced a ban on the use of U.S. dollars in response to increased U.S. sanctions. Beginning November 8 banks will begin charging a 10 percent commission on any U.S. dollar currency exchange.

(Jorge Rey/Getty Images)

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In this handout image provided by the Brazlian Presidency, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Fidel Castro (R) speaks with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) during a private meeting on February 24, 2010 in Havana, Cuba. Lula is on a two day visit to Cuba after having attended the Summit of the Group of Rio states in Mexico. 

(Ricardo Stuckert/Brazilian Presidency/Getty Images))

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Pope Benedict XVI meets with former Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) at the Vatican embassy on March 29, 2012 in Havana, Cuba. The Pope is finishing up his first trip to Cuba, fourteen years after Pope John Paul II visited the communist country.

(L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro (C) stands with the help of a crutch as his brother, the Secretary of the Armed Forces of Cuba, Raul Castro (R), stands nearby during a ceremony for visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao November 23, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. President Castro is recovering from a fall he suffered on October 20. President Hu is on an official two day trip to the Island. 

(Jorge Rey/Getty Images)

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398551 02: Cuban President Fidel Castro gestures as he aswers a question December 12, 2001 at Margarita Island, Venezuela. Castro participated in a press conference at the end of the The Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). (Photo by Miraflores/Getty Images)

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HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 29: Pope Benedict XVI meets with former Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) at the Vatican embassy on March 29, 2012 in Havana, Cuba. The Pope is finishing up his first trip to Cuba, fourteen years after Pope John Paul II visited the communist country. (Photo by L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)
(2012 Getty Images)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's Fidel Castro meets with a group of Cuban and foreign intellectuals who are attending Havana's International Book Fair, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)
(AP2011)

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HAVANA, CUBA - OCTOBER 20: Cuban President Fidel Castro talks at a polling place for the election of delegates of the Municipal Assembly October 20, 2002 in Havana, Cuba. Cubans went to the polls to elect local district representatives of the Municipal Assemblies. The elections mark the first stage of reordering of Cuba's National Assembly. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2002 Getty Images)

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In this photo released by Cuba's Communist daily newspaper Granma, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, right, shakes hands with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Havana, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006. (AP Photo/ Granma, HO)

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HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 3: Cuban President Fidel Castro speaks in the Karl Marx Theater January 3, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. Castro commemorated the 45th anniversary of the victory of the Revolution that began in January of 1959. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2004 Getty Images)

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HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 29: Pope Benedict XVI meets with former Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) at the Vatican embassy on March 29, 2012 in Havana, Cuba. The Pope is finishing up his first trip to Cuba, fourteen years after Pope John Paul II visited the communist country. (Photo by L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)
(2012 Getty Images)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, right, is awarded the Alma Mater Prize by Cuba's College Students Federation, FEU, in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)

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COMBO - This three-picture combo shows, from top to bottom, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, left, shaking hands with Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega in Tripoli, Libya on June 5, 2007; Gadhafi, left, greeting Cuba's President Fidel Castro in Tripoli, Libya on May 17, 2001; and Gadhafi, left, accompanied by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, waving in Porlamar, Margarita Island, Venezuela on Sept. 28, 2009. Even though after an internal conflict started in Libya in February 2011, Gadhafi is finding himself increasingly alone internationally, he still has at least a few friends far away. Chavez, Castro and Ortega have been foremost in opposing U.S. and NATO military involvement, and in suggesting that reports of atrocities by Gadhafi's troops are overblown or unproven. (AP Photo/Presidential House of Nicaragua, Jairo Cajina; Liborio Noval; Fernando Llano)
(AP2011)

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Brazil's President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, right, takes a picture of Cuba's President Fidel Castro, left, during a meeting in Havana, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. Fidel Castro met with Brazil's President and the Cuban leader looked frail but alert in a series of official photographs from the meeting, the first images released of him in months. At center is a translator. (AP Photo/Str)

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HAVANA, CUBA - SEPTEMBER 1: Cuban President Fidel Castro speaks to the presidents and secretaries of 23 participating countries at the start of the 6th session of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification September 1, 2003 in Havana, Cuba. The convention aims to address problems, such as poverty and food security, associated with desertification and drought especially in Africa. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2003 Getty Images)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's Fidel Castro meets with a group of Cuban and foreign intellectuals who are attending Havana's International Book Fair, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)
(AP2011)

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Cuba's President Fidel Castro, center, trips after a speech at a graduation ceremony in Santa Clara, Cuba, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2004, in this image made from television. An Associated Press photographer at the scene said Castro tripped on a concrete step after he finished walking down the stairs from the stage, then fell onto the ground on his right side, first hitting his knee and hip, and then his elbow and arm. Speaking live on state television less than a minute after his fall, Castro told television viewers across the island of 11.2 million people that he thought he had broken his knee "and maybe an arm ... but I am all in one piece." (AP Photo/APTN) ** TV OUT **

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HAVANA, CUBA - NOVEMBER 23: Cuban President Fidel Castro stands with the help of a crutch while listening to Chinese national anthems during a ceremony for visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao November 23, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. President Castro is recovering from a fall he suffered on October 20. President Hu is on an official two day trip to the Island. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2004 Getty Images)

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HAVANA, CUBA - JUNE 21: Cuban President Fidel Castro waves a Cuban flag during a demonstration outside the U.S. Interest Section June 21, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. Castro addressed tens of thousands of Cubans, criticizing U.S. travel restrictions. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2004 Getty Images)

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** FILE ** Director Oliver Stone, left, and Cuban leader Fidel Castro are seen Thursday, Feb. 21, 2002 after wrapping up shooting of a documentary in Ernest Hemingway's preferred bar "La Terraza" in Cojimar near Havana, Cuba. The producer and others involved in Stone's documentary on Castro have agreed to pay the U.S. government more than $6,000 to resolve allegations that they violated a longstanding embargo against the communist country in documents dated Dec. 1, 2006. (AP Photo)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's Fidel Castro meets with a group of Cuban and foreign intellectuals who are attending Havana's International Book Fair, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)
(AP2011)

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In this photo released by Granma newspaper, Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro, right, listens to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. Chavez is in Cuba to attend meetings as part of the tenth anniversary of both countries aid and commercial agreements. (AP Photo/Granma)

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404760 10: Cuban leader Fidel Castro waves a flag while he speaks May 1, 2002 during a celebration of May Day at the Revolution Plaza of Havana, Cuba. Thousands gathered today to hear Cuban President Fidel Castro defend his revolution and attack Latin American critics for being what he called, "lackeys of the United States." (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)

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(FILES): This 01 August 1998 file photo shows Cuban President Fidel Castro addressing a crowd at the Emancipation statue in Barbados. The United States suggested 27 August, 2007 that the latest round of rumours of ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro's death might have been started by the Cuban government. Castro, who turned 81 on August 13 with little celebration in Cuba, underwent intestinal surgery in July 2006. He has not been seen in public since before the operation, though he has appeared in photographs and eight videos, the last of which aired on June 5. AFP PHOTO/FILES/Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
(2007 AFP)

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A woman holds a 1964 photograph of Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, as she attends an event marking the 12th anniversary of the government of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday Feb. 2, 2011. The image of Castro was taken by Cuban photographer Osvaldo Salas in Santiago de Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

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HAVANA, CUBA - MARCH 29: Pope Benedict XVI meets with former Cuban President Fidel Castro (R) at the Vatican embassy on March 29, 2012 in Havana, Cuba. The Pope is finishing up his first trip to Cuba, fourteen years after Pope John Paul II visited the communist country. (Photo by L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)
(2012 Getty Images)

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HAVANA - MAY 1: Cuban President Fidel Castro arrives at a May Day celebration at Revolution Square May 1, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. Organizers say one million people attended the event, during which Castro declared he will continue to build a socialist society in Cuba, despite the Bush Administration's efforts to speed up political change on the island. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2004 Getty Images)

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Cuba's President Raul Castro, center, raises the arm of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez while checking his watch as Cuba's Vice-President Ricardo Cabrisas applauds at the end of a meeting in Havana, Cuba, Monday Nov. 8, 2010. Castro announced that Cuba will hold a long-delayed, and much-anticipated, Communist Party Congress next April and leaders will use the meeting to chart a new economic future for the island while Venezuela's socialist leader vowed to continue supporting the Cuban revolution both economically and politically. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, right, speaks during a meeting with students of Cuba's College Students Federation in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)
(AP2010)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's Fidel Castro meets with a group of Cuban and foreign intellectuals who are attending Havana's International Book Fair, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)
(AP2011)

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--FILE-- In this Aug. 7, 2010 file photo, Fidel Castro attends a special session of parliament in his first official government appearance in front of lawmakers in four years in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Javier Galeano, File)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro, right, welcomes Chinese President Hu Jintao Monday Nov.22, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. Hu Jintao begins a 2-day-trip to the Island, Monday. In a written message given to the press upon arrival, Hu praised Cuba's socialist revolution and highlighted friendship between the two nations, saying "Chinese-Cuban ties have passed the test of changing and adverse international circumstances." Castro is still recovering from a fall he took while giving a speech, Oct. 20. (AP Photo/Jose Goitia)

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In this photo released by Cuba's daily newspaper Juventud Rebelde, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, left, meets with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Havana, Monday, Jan. 29, 2007. These are the first images of the ailing leader shown in three months, reportedly taken on Monday, in a private meeting that was not previously publicized. (AP Photo/Juventud Rebelde) ** NO SALES **

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FILE - In this May 17, 2001 file photo, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, left, greets Cuban President Fidel Castro prior to their talks in Tripoli, Libya. As Gadhafi finds himself increasingly alone internationally, he still has at least a few friends far away. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Cuba's Fidel Castro and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega have been foremost in opposing U.S. and NATO military involvement, and in suggesting that reports of atrocities by Gadhafi's troops are overblown or unproven. (AP Photo/Liborio Noval, File)
(AP2001)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, right,talks with students while receiving a poster depicting him younger next to the facade of the University of Havana reading in Spanish: "Here I became a revolutionary" in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)

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A group of 14 Cubans, who landed on pilings of an abandoned bridge on Jan. 4 in the Florida Keys, show their passports and official letters confirming they will get humanitarian visas to emigrate permanently to the United States outside of the U.S. mission for political refugees in Havana, Cuba, Friday, March 24, 2006. Fourteen people from the original group of 15 each received the official U.S. letter they need to seek permission from Cuban authorities to leave the country. (AP Photo/ Javier Galeano)

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FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2010 file photo, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro delivers a speech during the 50th anniversary of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, CDR, in Havana, Cuba. Cuban-American exiles may be eagerly awaiting the death of Fidel Castro, but U.S. diplomats don't expect the revolutionary icon's passing to generate any immediate changes on the communist-run island, or even an upsurge in Cubans seeking to leave, according to newly released diplomatic cables. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Prensa Latina, File)
(AP2010)

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5th July 1968: Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, presents a photograph in which General Ovando Candia and other men of the Bolivian Army get drunk to celebrate the murder of Che Guevara, the Latin American revolutionary. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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HAVANA - FEBRUARY 24: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this handout image provided by the Brazlian Presidency, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Fidel Castro (L) greets Brazil?s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) during a private meeting on February 24, 2010 in Havana, Cuba. Lula is on a two day visit to Cuba after having attended the Summit of the Group of Rio states in Mexico. (Photo by Ricardo Stuckert/Brazlian Presidency via Getty Images)
(2010 Brazlian Presidency)

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SANTA CLARA, CUBA - JULY 26: Cuban President Fidel Castro speaks during the island's annual Revolution Day celebration July 26, 2004 in Santa Clara, Cuba. The celebration marks the 51st anniversary of the failed July 26, 1953 attack on military barracks that launched the Cuban revolution. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2004 Getty Images)

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Cuban President Fidel Castro, signs the book of condolences at the headquarters of the Catholic Nunciate in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, April 4, 2005. (AP Photo/Jorge Rey) **EFE OUT**

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FILE - In this May 26, 2003 file photo, Argentina's President Nestor Kirchner, right, and Cuba's President Fidel Castro wave at the government palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to state television in Argentina, Nestor Kirchner died on Wednesday Oct. 27, 2010 after suffering heart attacks at age 60. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz, File)

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Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, right, smiles as he sits with Argentine Congressman Miguel Bonasso in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Sept. 13,2006. Castro made an appearance of sorts Wednesday on the sidelines of the Nonaligned Movement summit when Cuban state television showed photos of him wearing pajamas and chatting with a close friend from Argentina.(AP Photo/NOAL Summit,Pool)

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HAVANA, CUBA - APRIL 18: (FILE PHOTO) Fidel Castro attends a meeting April 18, 2004 in Havana, Cuba. The Cuban government announced a ban on the use of U.S. dollars in response to increased U.S. sanctions. Beginning November 8 banks will begin charging a 10 percent commission on any U.S. dollar currency exchange. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)
(2004 Getty Images)

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A group of 14 Cubans, who landed on pilings of an abandoned bridge on Jan. 4 in the Florida Keys, show their passports and official letters confirming they will get humanitarian visas to emigrate permanently to the United States outside of the U.S. mission for political refugees in Havana, Cuba, Friday, March 24, 2006. Fourteen people from the original group of 15 each received the official U.S. letter they need to seek permission from Cuban authorities to leave the country. (AP Photo/ Javier Galeano)

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*** ADDS TRANSLATION OF HEADLINE **** This is one of four photographs published Sunday Aug. 13, 2006 by Cuba's Communist Youth newspaper's online edition Juventud Rebelde proporting to show The first photographs of Fidel Castro since his illness two weeks ago. Castro holds a copy of the Saturday Aug. 12, 2006 edition of Granma, the Communist Party newspaper. The headline reads "Absolved by history." The Associated Press cannot verify the authenticity or the date when these photographs were shot. (AP Photo/HO)

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Children ride in the bed of a truck with a framed image of Fidel Castro, in Regla, Cuba, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, in a caravan tribute to the 56th anniversary of the original street party that greeted Castro and his rebel army in 1959. Castro and his rebels arrived in Havana via caravan, after toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista. The revolutionary leader and former president has not spoken publicly on the historic Dec. 17th US-Cuba detente. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

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**RETRANSMITTING FOR BETTER QUALITY ** In this photo released by Cuba's Communist daily newspaper Granma, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, right, holds a dagger that had belonged to South American independence fighter Simon Bolivar, which was given to him as a gift from Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, in Havana, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006. Chavez's visit came the same day that Castro issued a statement to the Cuban people, warning them that he faces a long and difficult recovery after his surgery. (AP Photo/Granma, HO)

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FILE - This April 20, 1960, file photo shows Cuban leader Fidel Castro tossing the traditional first ball at ceremonies opening the International League baseball season, in Havana, Cuba. At right looking on is Rochester Red Wings manager Clyde King whose Redwings met the 1959 Little World Series champion Havana Sugar Kings, in the season opener. King, whose baseball career as a player, coach, manager and front-office man spanned six decades, has died in North Carolina. He was 86. Wayne Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Amy Cain says King died Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Goldsboro, N.C. (AP Photo/File)

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In this photo downloaded from the state media Cubadebate web site, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, right, is greeted by a student while receiving a poster depicting him younger next to the facade of the University of Havana in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Roberto Chile, Cubadebate)

Fidel Castro, A Communist Icon Despised And Adored

Over the nearly five decades he ruled Cuba, Fidel Castro became a revolutionary legend and changed the political map of Latin America. He was also at the center of the Cold War and the 1962 missile crisis that brought the world dangerously close to a nuclear war. Here is a sample of images from the long and storied life of the seemingly eternal "Comandante."

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