A Cuban stands in front of a mural of Fidel Castro in Havana, following the announcement of Castro's death, November 2016.

For Cubans and Cuba watchers, it was nothing short of surreal to see the headlines announcing the death of Fidel Castro on Friday night. After so many false alarms, after ten years observing the retired, frail revolutionary play host to periodic visitors, the logical first reaction was healthy suspicion. It was only when Cuba’s ambassador in Washington retweeted the news that it began to sink in that this time was for real.

Back in 2006, when Cuban authorities first announced that Castro was stepping down from power due to illness, predictions of his—and the Cuban government’s—imminent demise

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