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Cuba

This Happened—November 25: Death Of A Communist Icon

After winning a revolution, and ruling for almost half a century, Fidel Castro dies at the age of 90.

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Who was Fidel Castro?

The bearded face of Communism in Cuba and beyond, Fidel Castro reigned from 1959 to 2008 as Prime Minister and President of the island nation.

Castro had led a successful Communist revolution against the oppressive U.S.-backed Batista regime. His administration nationalized Cuba’s industries, putting an end to private ownership. He was a self-proclaimed “socialist, and Marxist–Leninist" who believed strongly in converting Cuba - along with the rest of the world - from a capitalist system in which individuals own the means of production into a socialist system in which the means of production are owned by the state and workers.

Why was Fidel Castro controversial?

After the U.S. repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to end Castro’s early rule with a series of assassination attempts, embargos, and the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro aligned more closely with the Soviet Union, allowing them to build missile launch sites on the island less than 90 miles away from the U.S., solidifying him as a sure enemy of Washington.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro was reportedly enraged when the Soviet Union agreed to disarm, rather than fire its nuclear weapons at the U.S.

When did Fidel Castro Die?

The 90-year old former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Council of State, Fidel Castro died of natural causes at 10:29 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2016.

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Society

Tour Of Istanbul's Ancient Yedikule Gardens, At Risk With Urban Restoration

The six-hectare gardens in the center of Istanbul, which are more than 1,500 years old, have helped feed the city's residents over the centuries and are connected with its religious history. But current city management has a restoration project that could disrupt a unique urban ecosystem.

Photo of Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Last March, Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Tolga Ildun via ZUMA Press Wire
Canan Coşkun

ISTANBUL — The historic urban gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are at risk of destruction once again. After damage in 2013 caused by the neighborhood municipality of Fatih, the gardens are now facing further disruption and possible damage as the greater Istanbul municipality plans more "restoration" work.

The six-hectare gardens are more than 1,500 years old, dating back to the city's Byzantine era. They were first farmed by Greeks and Albanians, then people from the northern city of Kastamonu, near the Black Sea. Now, a wide variety of seasonal produce grows in the garden, including herbs, varieties of lettuce and other greens, red turnip, green onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, pepper, corn, mullberry, fig and pomegranate.

Yedikule is unique among urban gardens around the world, says Cemal Kafadar, a historian and professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University.

“There are (urban gardens) that are older than Istanbul gardens, such as those in Rome, but there is no other that has maintained continuity all this time with its techniques and specific craft," Kafadar says. "What makes Yedikule unique is that it still provides crops. You might have eaten (from these gardens) with or without knowing about it."

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