(I'm sure everyone knows this by now - I came online late today - so it's news to me.)
He wasn't doing well so his death isn't such a shock, although it is something of a milestone. He outlived all his revolutionary comrades, as well as his Kremlin backers. He was the man who nearly caused nuclear war in the early 1960's - for that he will always be remembered.
Toward the end of his life the last three Popes were very kind to him, I think. JPII, Benedict, and now Francis 'negotiated' with the man, not so much the dictator, and Castro seemed anxious to see them - perhaps a bit like Zacchaeus in the Gospel? For me, the papal visitations are a clear example of dialog, diplomacy, and even friendship - working together to secure religious freedom, reconciliation and peace.
Holy Father Pope Francis sent his condolences:
On receiving the sad news of the death of your dear brother, His Excellency Mister Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, former president of the State Council and of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sentiments of sorrow to Your Excellency and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation. At the same time, I offer prayers to the Lord for his rest and I entrust the whole Cuban people to the maternal intercession of our Lady of the Charity of El Cobre, patroness of that country. - Francisco, PP.The death of a man like Castro is difficult to process. I have already come across articles detailing his 'crimes' - executions, confiscation of property and goods, disruption of free trade and persecution of the Church, and so on. History will judge him, but God's judgement is the one that matters.
His mercy endures forever.
"I would give a thousand lives to save even one soul." - St. Teresa of Avila