— -- The relationship between the U.S. and Cuba has warmed in recent years with landmark changes to international policy, but the country remains a mystery to some Americans.
One American who has had the rare distinction of meeting with Fidel Castro twice over the course of three decades is ABC News' Barbara Walters.
Walters reflected on some of the most memorable moments from her meetings with the former Cuban leader in a discussion with ABC News' Byron Pitts.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE DECEIVING
The ability to win over the public is a key tool for dictators, and Walters said that Castro could be disarmingly charming.
"Your feeling is that he's much bigger than he actually is," she said.
WILL HE FOLLOW THROUGH ON HIS PROMISE?
She said towards the end of their first interview, which took five hours to complete, Castro said that he would shave his beard if America lifted its embargo.
While that hasn't happened completely, the steps were outlined by President Obama this week.
NOT ONE FOR POSTERS
Unlike other dictatorial leaders, such as Mao Zedong in China or Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Castro did not like having his face plastered around Cuba on posters.
Walters weighs in on why she thinks that was the case.
FALLOUT FROM FIDEL
Because of the hatred that the Cuban dictator inspires from people who have fled his rule, Walters faced death threats after her first interview aired in 1977.
Walters said that Castro made the unusual request of being paid after the interview was completed.
Here's how she was able to negotiate with the dictator.
Editor's Note: This story originally was published in 2014. It is being re-posted in light of Fidel Castro's death on November 25, 2016.