World

The Not-So-Secret Secret Life Of Fidel Castro

| by Michael Howard

Despite his socialist credentials, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who died Nov. 25 at the age of 90, is said to have lived a life of luxury that included 20 properties, a private island, and a yacht.

In 2006, Forbes magazine named Castro as one of the world's wealthiest "kings, queens and dictators," according to the Daily Mail. In response, Castro claimed to live on a salary of $25 per month.

But that was difficult to believe with Castro's lavish lifestyle, detailed in a 2014 book written by one of his former bodyguards, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez.

In the book, Sanchez estimated that Castro was worth over $100 million.

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One of his properties in Havana reportedly featured a bowling alley on the roof, a personal hospital and an indoor basketball court. Another property included a personal ice cream factory.

Castro was also a notorious womanizer, engaging in numerous extramarital affairs and fathering at least nine children with four different women. Ex-lovers have said that Castro used to smoke cigars during sex and never took his army boots off.

"He doubtless had other relationships that I did not know about," Sanchez wrote in his book, according to the Daily Mail.

Reactions to Castro's passing have been mixed.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau drew criticism after he gave a statement praising "Cuba's longest serving president."

"Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century," he wrote, according to CNN. "A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation."

Responding to Trudeau's statement in a tweet, Sen. Marco Rubio called it "shameful [and] embarrassing" and inquired whether it was a parody.

Likewise, Sen. Ted Cruz dismissed Trudeau's Castro tribute as "disgraceful."

Shortly after Castro's death was announced, President-elect Donald Trump issued a statement in which he characterized the late Cuban president as "a brutal dictator."

"The world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades," he said, according to USA Today. "Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights."

Castro is said to have survived more than 600 assassination attempts, many of them plotted by the CIA.

Sources: Daily Mail, CNN, USA Today / Photo credit: Marcelo Montecino/Flickr

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