Life and Times of Fidel Castro

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Fidel Castro was one of the greatest leaders to have walked the earth whose passing away has left a deep void in the hearts of his admirers and followers. Castro’s ideals have become a source of inspiration for people around the world in the fight against repressive governments.

Early life and incidents

Born to Ángel Castro y Argiz, a Spanish immigrant, on August 13, 1926, Castro studied at Roman Catholic boarding schools in the city Santiago de Cuba and in Belen, a Catholic high school in Havana. After completing schooling, Fidel Castro enrolled at the School of Law, where he became embroiled in politics. Some of the activities that Castro took part in from 1945 to 1950 were participation in an attack by Dominican exiles and Cubans on the Dominican Republic in 1947. The invasion was a part of the plan to overthrow Gen. Rafael Trujillo, the ruler of the Dominican Republic; however, it failed. The next year, in 1948, Castro took part in the urban riots in the Colombian city of Bogota.

Soon after his graduation, he started his practice in law. Following Gen. Fulgencio Batista coup against Pres. Carlos Prío Socarrás, Castro organized a rebel army and in 1953, made an attack on the Moncada military barracks located in Santiago de Cuba. The attack failed and Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison; but in 1955, along with his brother Raul, was freed in a political amnesty. Both the brothers left for Mexico to continue their fight against Batista. Castro’s efforts were rewarded when on January 1, 1959, Batista fled from Cuba.

Leader of Cuba

Castro took over the new government and in February 1959, became premier, a position he held until 1976. Castro’s premiership was marked by increasing hostilities with the US, with whom diplomatic relations were cut off in January 1961, and also trade agreements with the Soviet Union. In 1961, he declared Cuba a socialist state and in the same year, his armed forces crushed an assault by a CIA-backed Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro’s government.

In 1962, the Cuban Missiles Crisis took place when the Soviet Union placed ballistic missiles in Cuba with nuclear warheads pointed towards the US. However, the threat ceased and the Soviet Union withdrew when assured that the US would no longer try to Overthrow Castro’s regime.

In 1976, he became the president of Cuba and remained in that position till 2008 when he handed over the presidency to his brother Raul Castro.

Castro tried to bring in reforms such as expanding social services, providing people free educational and health services and guaranteeing employment.

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