In 1959, Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926–November 25, 2016) used force to seize power in Cuba and ruled it. As a despotic dictatorship for over five decades. Castro was the subject of intense worldwide debate for a long time since his nation was the only one in the Western Hemisphere to practice communism.
Fidel Castro was born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz on August 13, 1926 (some sources claim 1927) near his father’s farm, Birán, in southeast Cuba in what was then the Oriente Province. In order to participate in the Spanish American War, Castro’s father, Négel Maria Bautista Castro y Argiz, traveled to Cuba from Spain and settled there. As a successful sugarcane grower, Ángel Castro eventually had 26,000 acres. Fidel was the third child to be born to Lina Ruz González, a cook, and maid for Ángel Castro. The elder Castro was married to Maria Luisa Argota, but that union soon collapsed, and Ángel Castro and Lina got hitched. Ramon, Ral, Angela, Juanita, Emma, and Agustina were Fidel’s full siblings.
Fidel was raised on his father’s farm and attended Colegio de Dolores in Santiago de Cuba until he was six years old. From there, he transferred to Colegio de Belén, a prestigious Jesuit secondary school in Havana.
At the University of Havana, where he excelled in oratory and rapidly got active in politics. Fidel Castro began work on a law degree in 1945. Castro joined the Caribbean Legion in 1947. A group of political exiles from the region sought to free the region from dictatorships. Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic was to be overthrown by the Legion when Castro joined. The plan was eventually abandoned due to pressure from abroad.
In 1948, when nationwide riots broke out in response to Jorge Eliecer Gaitán’s murder. Castro headed to Bogotá, Colombia with plans to interrupt the Pan-American Union Conference. Castro snatched up a gun and joined the anarchists. He experienced public upheavals firsthand while distributing anti-American literature to the people.
Castro with fellow student Mirta Diaz-Balart in October 1948 after returning to Cuba. Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart was the only child that Castro and Mirta had together (known as Fidelito, 1949–2018).
Castro vs Batista
Castro finished law school and started his legal career in 1950. He continued to have a keen interest in politics and decided to run for a position in the Cuban House of Representatives in the June 1952 election. The previous Cuban government was overthrown in a successful coup led by General Fulgencio Batista. It prevents elections from taking place.
Castro battled against Batista from the start of his rule. Castro initially tried using the legal system to remove Batista. But when it didn’t work, Castro started to put together a clandestine rebel army.
Castro Attacks Moncada barracks
The Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba’s second-largest military installation in Cuba was attacked early on July 26, 1953, by Castro, his brother Ral, and a squad of roughly 160 armed men. There was little likelihood that the attack would have been successful given the base’s presence of hundreds of trained soldiers. Castro and Ral were caught and put on trial after sixty of Castro’s opponents were put to death.
At his trial, he made a speech that concluded, “Imprison me. It makes no difference. History will clear my name” Castro received a 15-year prison term. Two years later, in May 1955, he was freed.
The 26th July Movement
Castro traveled to Mexico after being freed and spent the following year coordinating the “26th of July Movement” (based on the date of the failed Moncada Barracks attack). There he met Naty Revuelta, a fellow Batista opponent from Cuba, and got involved with her. Naty and Fidel had a daughter together, Alina Fernandez, despite the relationship ending abruptly. Fidel’s first marriage to Mirta terminated in divorce in 1955 as a result of the affair.
Castro and the other members of the 26th of July Movement arrived on Cuban soil on December 2, 1956, with the goal of launching a revolution. Only a small number of Movement members managed to escape Batista’s fierce fortifications, including Castro, Ral, and Che Guevara.
Castro carried out guerrilla strikes over the next two years while successfully recruiting a sizable number of volunteers. Castro and his allies engaged in guerrilla warfare against Batista’s troops, capturing town after town. Batista had multiple setbacks and swiftly lost the favor of the public. Leaving Cuba on January 1, 1959, Batista.
Castro Becomes Cuba’s Leader
The new administration chose Manuel Urrutia to lead it in January, and Castro was given command of the armed forces. Castro, however, effectively assumed control of Cuba by July 1959, and he remained in that position for the following 50 years.
He implemented major changes in Cuba between 1959 and 1960, nationalizing industry, collectivizing agriculture, and seizing American-owned companies and farms. Castro alienated the United States and solidified his connections with the Soviet Union throughout these two years as well. Cuba became a communist nation under Castro.
The US desired Castro’s removal from office. The U.S. funded a failed invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles in April 1961 in an effort to topple Castro (the Bay of Pigs Invasion). The United States has undertaken hundreds of unsuccessful efforts to murder Castro throughout the years.
Cuban Missile Crisis
When the United States found the Soviet Union’s nuclear missile production sites in 1962, Cuba became the focus of attention worldwide. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the conflict that followed between the United States and the Soviet Union, marked the closest the world has ever been to nuclear war.
Castro exercised autocratic control over Cuba for the following 40 years. Castro’s educational and land reforms helped some Cubans, but others were adversely affected by food shortages and a lack of personal liberties. Hundreds of Cubans fled Cuba to live in the United States.
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Castro found himself utterly alone, having relied significantly on Soviet aid and trade; many predicted that Castro would follow suit. Castro remained in power even though the U.S. embargo against Cuba was still in place and harming Cuba’s economy throughout the 1990s.
The announcement that Castro would temporarily cede control to his brother Ral while undergoing gastrointestinal surgery came in July 2006. Castro had multiple further surgeries as a result of infections brought on by the surgery’s complications. For the following ten years, there were numerous reports in the news of his passing, but they were all disproven until 2016.
Castro, who was still unwell, declared on February 19, 2008, that he would not run for or accept reelection as president of Cuba, so stepping down from that position. The transfer of power to Ral infuriated American officials even more since they saw it as the continuation of a dictatorship. President Barack Obama tried to reestablish diplomatic ties and exchange prisoners with Cuba in 2014 by using his administrative authority. Castro, however, publicly mocked Obama’s offer after his visit and claimed that Cuba had no need of the United States.
From Eisenhower to Obama, there were ten U.S. presidential administrations during which Fidel Castro held power. He also maintained close personal ties to political and literary figures in Latin America, including Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose book “The Autumn of the Patriarch” is partially based on Fidel.
In April 2016, Castro attended a meeting of the Cuban Communist Party for the last time in public. On November 25, 2016, he passed away in Havana from unspecified circumstances.
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