Fidel Castro: powerful agent of change in South Florida

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Fidel Castro, one of the last paragons of the moribund Communist system, was the catalyst who changed South Florida from a sun-drenched backwater of retired New Yorkers and drawling Southerners to an international destination with a decidedly Latin flavor.

Little did South Floridians know on New Year's Day 1959, when Castro seized power in Cuba, that their world was about to be shaken to its core.

"The most transformational event in the history of South Florida was the Castro takeover," said Paul George, a history professor at Miami-Dade College. "You've got a guy that's widely reviled, and yet because of him we're living in a completely different area today."




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