Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (; born August 13, 1926) is a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the Commander in Chief of the country's armed forces and the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011. Politically a Marxist-Leninist, under his administration the Republic of Cuba was converted into a one-party socialist state, with industry and business being nationalized under state ownership and socialist reforms implemented in all areas of society. On the international stage, he also served as the Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1979 to 1983 and 2006 to 2008.

Born the illegitimate son of a wealthy farmer, Castro became involved in leftist anti-imperialist politics while studying law at the University of Havana. Involving himself in armed rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he concluded that the U.S.-backed Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, who was widely seen as a dictator, had to be overthrown; to this end he led a failed armed attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. Imprisoned for a year, he traveled to Mexico, and with the aid of his brother Raúl Castro and friend Che Guevara, assembled a group of revolutionaries, the 26th of July Movement. Returning with them to Cuba, he took a key role in the Cuban Revolution, leading a successful guerrilla war against Batista's forces, overthrowing him in 1959. Castro subsequently became Commander in Chief and shortly thereafter became Prime Minister. The United States was alarmed by his involvement in the overthrow of Batista and relationship with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, implementing an economic blockade of the island. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower also ordered the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to overthrow him, which they unsuccessfully tried through multiple assassination attempts and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. To counter this threat, Castro forged an economic and military alliance with the Soviet Union and allowed them to place nuclear weapons on the island, leading to the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Adopting Marxism-Leninism as his guiding ideology, in 1961 Castro proclaimed the socialist nature of the Cuban revolution, and in 1965 became First Secretary of the newly founded Communist Party. He then led the transformation of Cuba into a one-party socialist republic, nationalizing industry, embarking on the large-scale construction of housing and infrastructure and introducing free healthcare and education; the administration also halted the freedom of the press and suppressed internal dissidents considered to be counter-revolutionaries. A keen internationalist, Castro introduced Cuban medical brigades who worked throughout the developing world, and aided foreign revolutionary socialist groups in the hope of toppling world capitalism, thereby involving Cuba in the Yom Kippur War, Angolan Civil War and the Ogaden War. After taking Cuba into Comecon, in 1976 he stepped down as Prime Minister to become President of both the Council of State and Council of Ministers. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Castro led Cuba into its economic "Special Period", before taking the country into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas in 2006 and forging alliances with other nations in the Latin American "Pink Tide". Amidst failing health, in 2006 Castro transferred his responsibilities to Vice-President Raúl Castro, who then became President when Fidel stepped down in 2008.

Castro is a controversial and highly divisive world figure, being lauded as a champion of anti-imperialism, humanitarianism, socialism and environmentalism by his supporters, but his critics have accused him of being a dictator whose authoritarian administration has overseen multiple human rights abuses both at home and abroad. A prolific author on various topics, he has had a significant influence on the politics of various individuals and groups across the world, including senior leaders like Nelson Mandela, Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales.

Read more about Fidel Castro:  Later Years and Retirement: 2008–present, Politics, Personal and Public Life, Bibliography

Other articles related to "fidel castro, castro, fidel":

My Life (Fidel Castro Autobiography)
... My Life - A Spoken Autobiography by Fidel Castro and Ignacio Ramonet was published in Spanish in 2006 (Fidel Castro biografía a dos voces), and English in 2007 ... The book was written by Ramonet based on more than 100 hours of interviews with Castro, and the final text was edited and approved by Castro himself before publication ...
Mier, Tamaulipas - History - Fidel Castro in Mier
... event from Mier occurred in 1956 involving Fidel Castro ... Fidel Castro had learned of the fashion in which any merchandise could be crossed illegally by the Rio Grande River into Mier ... At that time Castro was preparing for a revolution in Cuba and was meeting with leaders in Mexico City ...
Fidel Castro - Reception and Legacy - Criticism
... See also Human rights in Cuba and Censorship in Cuba "Within Cuba, Fidel's domination of every aspect of the government and the society remains total ... product, severely limit what Cuba can buy on the world market." — Peter Bourne, Castro Biographer, 1986 During his administration of Cuba, Castro has been heavily ... has a high Cuban-American population, Castro has been viewed with "passion and hatred", and politicians hoping to get elected in that state would regularly criticize him in order to win votes ...
CIA Activities In Cuba - Communist Regime
... Party strengthened its one-party rule, with Castro as the head of government ... Kennedy to assassinate Fidel Castro ... Cuban leader Fidel Castro used the routed invasion to consolidate his power and strengthen Cuba's ties with the Soviet Union ...
Cuban Presidential Election, 2008
... In the election, Raúl Castro, who had been Acting President since July 2006, was elected as President, succeeding his brother, Fidel Castro ... considered uncertain whether the ailing 81-year-old Fidel Castro would be elected for another term as President of the Council of State or acting president Raúl Castro would ... Raúl Castro, aged 76, was elected as President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers by a unanimous vote of the National Assembly (on a ballot with only his name for the position ...

Famous quotes by fidel castro:

    I began revolution with 82 men. If I had [to] do it again, I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action.
    Fidel Castro (b. 1926)

    History will absolve me.
    [La historia me absolver .]
    Fidel Castro (b. 1926)

    I had to say something
    To strike him very weird,
    So I yelled out,
    ‘I like Fidel Castro and his beard.’
    Bob Dylan [Robert Allen Zimmerman] (b. 1941)

    I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger. I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest. I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened.
    Fidel Castro (b. 1926)