The Life of Fidel Castro Fidel Castro, is the well-known dictatorial leader of Cuba for nearly five decades. His leadership has been the focus of international controversy. How is it that a man of this privileged upbringing, became the leader of a socialist revolution in Cuba, brought the world to the brink of destruction, and ultimately became one of the most famous political leaders in the history of Latin America. He was born on a farm in Biran, Cuba near mayan on August 13, 1926.
He received a Jesuit education while attending a boarding school in Havana by the name Colegio de Belen. When he finished high school, he attended the University of Havana. In 1950 he graduated from the university with a degree in law. “A man is not entirely the master of his own destiny. A man is also the child of circumstances, of difficulties, of struggle. Problems gradually sculpt him like a lathe sculpts a piece of metal. A man Is not born a revolutionary, I’d venture to say. ” (Castro, and Ramonet 23)
In 1952 Fidel Castro became a candidate for Congress for the Cuban People’s Party. He was a superb public speaker and soon built up a strong following amongst the young members of the party. The Cuban People’s Party was expected to win the election but during the campaign. General Fulgencio Batista, with the support of the armed forces, took control of the country. Castro came to the conclusion that revolution was the only way that the Cuban People’s Party would gain power. In 1953, Castro, with an armed group of 123 men and women, attacked the Moncada Army Barracks.
The plan to overthrow Batista ended in disaster and although only eight were killed in the fighting, another eighty were murdered by the army after they were captured. Castro was lucky that the lieutenant who arrested him ignored orders to have him executed and instead delivered him to the nearest civilian prison. In 1959 Cuba becomes the first Communist state in the western hemisphere after Fidel Castro, a 32-year-old lawyer, leads his rebels, known as the 26 July army, to victory on the streets of Havana, overthrowing the regime of US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.
Castro appoints Ernesto “Che” Guevara to his government. Attempting to spread the revolution in South America, Guevara is captured in a firefight in the jungle with Bolivian government troops and executed two days later. He had disappeared from the Cuban political scene in 1965 amid growing rumors that he had become disillusioned by Castro’s drift towards less radical politics. During 1979 Cuba supports the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Later, Cuba controversially sends military assistance to influence civil wars in Angola and Ethiopia.
Anglo-Cuban relations almost reach breaking point after a Cuban diplomat fires a gun in a crowded London street in 1988. Havana claimed that its attack was being followed by CIA agents plotting to force him to defect. The Thatcher government condemned the behavior of the Cuban diplomat and added that a man was wounded – he was a member of the British security services and not the CIA. The US tightens its longstanding embargo on Cuba during 1992, extending restrictions on travel and trade with the Cuban Democracy Act.
Fearing a collapse, Castro slowly begins to deregulate Cuba’s economy, moving to allow limited individual private enterprise A boat rescue of a Cuban child, Elian Gonzalez, sparks a diplomatic row with the US. The six-year-old boy was picked up off the Florida coast after he and his mother attempted to flee Cuba. After a protracted court battle, he was sent back to Cuba to live with his father, despite a high-profile campaign by wealthy US-based Cubans for him to remain.
On July 31, 2006, Castro delegated his duties as President of the Council of state, President of the Council of Ministers, First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party and the post of commander in chief of the armed forces to his brother Raul Castro. This transfer of duties was described at the time as temporary while Fidel recovered from surgery he underwent due to an acute intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding. Fidel Castro was too ill to attend the nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Granma boat landing on December 2, 2006, which also became his belated 80th birthday celebrations.
Castro’s non-appearance fueled reports that he had terminal pancreatic cancer and was refusing treatment, but on December 17, 2006 Cuban officials stated that Castro had no terminal illness and would eventually return to his public duties. Castro, who has not appeared in public since undergoing stomach surgery, said he would not seek a new term as president or leader of Cuba’s armed forces. He has retired and given the power to his younger brother Raul. “Fidel has outlasted seven U. S. presidents and five Soviet leaders. He has been in power longer than any world figure except King Hussein of Jordan. ” (Bourne 305)