Cuba's 'revolutionary icon' Fidel Castro turns 87

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Cuba's 'revolutionary icon' Fidel Castro turns 87

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Cuba’s former leader, Fidel Castro has celebrated his 87th birthday. Though the ailing revolutionary icon has kept a low profile since stepping down in 2006 for health reasons, his influence remains strong on the Caribbean island.

For some locals in Havana like Lazara Quintana, Fidel is the best thing that happened in Cuban history. “After the apostle of Cuban independence Jose Marti, it’s Fidel Castro Ruz,” she says.

His influence is so strong that eight-year old Yadel Colombie wishes him many more years in power as president, though he has not held the title for the last five years.

Fidel Castro held power from 1959, when he toppled US-backed Cuban president Fulgencio Batista, to 2006 when he handed the reins of power to his brother Raul. Though he remained president in name for two more years.

His historical role means he remains an important part of Cuban life, though there is doubt over how much influence he has on the government.

Also known as comandante, Fidel’s birthday has been low-key recently, with no public appearance scheduled this year.

He has made public displays over the years to show he is still alive and well, though his health status remains a closely guarded secret.