Fidel Castro By Gavin Grove

EARLY LIFE

Fidel Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926 on his family's sugar plantation in Mayari, Cuba. Castro's father was an immigrant from Spain, who while in Cuba led a fairly prosperous sugarcane plantation. As a child, Fidel Castro attended Roman Catholic boarding schools in Santiago de Cuba and then the Catholic high school Belén in Havana, where he proved to be an excellent athlete.

As a young boy, Fidel Castro picked up a love of sports that continued on for the rest of his life.

In 1945, Fidel Castro enrolled into the School of Law of the University of Havana. At the university, Castro mostly focused on politics. In 1947, Castro joined a group of exiled Dominicans and Cubans that tried to invade the Dominican Republic and overthrow General Rafael Trujillo. This overthrow was unsuccessful and he continued his rebellious behavior. In 1948, he took part in several riots in Bogatá, Columbia.

Fidel Castro as a prosperous young adult.

FIDEL IN HIS PRIME

After he graduated in 1950 from college, Fidel Castro practiced law and decided to join the Cuban People's Party (Orthodoxos). After the legal system failed to dismantle Fulgencio Bastista's dictatorship, Castro organized a rebel force in 1953 to finish the job the legal system couldn't. Then on July 26, 1953, Castro led approximately 160 men in an attack on the Moncada military barracks. Castro was planning on starting a popular uprising from this assault. Unfortunately for Castro, the assault was unsuccessful and he was incarcerated. In 1955, Fidel and Raúl, his brother, were released from jail on political amnesty. Following their release, the brothers fled to Mexico to continue their mission to dismantle the Bastista dictatorship. In Mexico, Castro organized a group of Cuban exiles into an insurgent group called the 26th of July Movement.

Fidel Castro led an insurgent group called the 26th of July Movement.The goal of this group was to end the oppressive leadership of Fulgencio Batista, a ruthless dictator.

REVOLUTIONARY ACTIONS

On December 2, 1956 Castro led an armed expedition on the eastern side of Cuba. Every person in the mission except for Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro, Ernesto Guevara and nine others were either captured or killed. With more and more people joining his cause everyday, Castro's 26th of July Movement captured several key victories in a row. On January 1, 1959, Castro finally chased Batista and his dictatorship out of Cuba. Fidel Castro was now the commander of chief of the Cuban army. Later in 1959, Castro became the head of the Cuban government.

COMMANDER IN CHIEF

Castro came into power with the relative support of people all over Cuba. Castro promised to restore the 1940 Constitution of Cuba, create an honest government, and to repair all liberties taken away under the Batista regime. But as time went on, Castro started to believe some radical ideas. Some of these new policies aggravated the United States of America and in 1960, all trade was severed between the two nations and the United States put a trade embargo on Cuba. In an attempt to overthrow the Castro administration, the United States of America sent thousands of Cuban exiles that attacked Cuban forces at the Bay of Pigs invasion in April of 1961.

Map of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961

TENSIONS ARISE

Castro then began to stockpile weapons that were acquired from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union were big supporters of Castro and the communist nation of Cuba. Then in 1962, the Soviets secretly allocated several ballistic missiles that could have been aimed at American cities. As the Americans confronted the Cubans and Soviets about the nuclear weapons, the world was very close to a nuclear war. This situation, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, was solved when the United States of America pledged that they would withdraw the nuclear missiles it had stationed in Turkey and that they would no longer seek to overthrow Castro’s rule.

These were some of the main cities that the Ballistic Missiles stationed in Cuba could hit. These missiles had a ridiculous amount of range and accuracy.

LEADER

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro focused on creating a one-party government that had complete control over the nation's political, economic, and cultural life. Anyone who opposed the government were savagely punished. Because of this, many citizens of Cuba decided to leave and immigrated to the United States of America. On the other hand, Castro vastly expanded the countries social, educational, and health services to every citizen of Cuba. Everyone was guaranteed employment. Although with these great services provided, Cuba's economy still faltered. Castro stayed Premier of Cuba until in 1976, a new constitution was drafted that named him president of Cuba.

Expansion and relations

As time went by, Fidel Castro tried to start other Communist revolutions in Latin America. From 1975 to 1989, Castro fought along side several nations to try to gain their support. Cuban forces helped in the Angolan civil war on the side of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola. Also, in 1978, Cuban troops helped out Ethiopian forces deviate an invasion from the neighboring country of Somalia. By the time of the mid 1980's, Cuba was considered a "non-aligned" country despite his connections with the Soviet Union. All through out this time period, Castro was still open to renew relations with the United States as long as they lifted the trade embargo on Cuba. In 1980, Castro allowed the port of Mariel to be open. As a result of opening Port Mariel, 125,000 immigrants flooded into the United States. In 1991, when the Soviet Union fell, all of the resources that Castro had received in the past from them were now gone.

LAter political years

In 1993, Castro's daughter fled from Cuba, and while in the United States, openly opposed her father. The following year began with some economic and social discontent that led to anti-government rallies. These had been the first anti-government rallies since the late 1950's when Castro himself led the revolution. Soon after this, Castro once again opened Port Mariel and several more thousand citizens fled to the United States for refuge. In 1998, Castro allowed Pope John Paul II to visit Cuba for the first time. In 2003, Cuba's National Assembly granted Castro another 5 year term as president. In 2004, Castro strengthened ties with Venezuela as he helped them with the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. This was a socialist initiative that promoted regional commerce in Latin America and surrounding areas.On July 31, 2006, Fidel Castro passed his presidential power over to his brother Raúl after he had been fighting a severe illness. Then in February 2008, just before the National Assembly, Fidel Castro publicly stated that he would not accept another term as the president of Cuba.

Fidel Castro as an older man.

final years

In March 2016, Castro openly criticized the United States president Barack Obama for several reasons. Castro criticized him for being the first U.S. president to visit the island in nearly 80 years, for not acknowledging the accomplishments of the Cuban Revolution, and including Cuba's efforts to eradicate racism. In April, Castro addressed the National Assembly and said that he didn't have much longer to live, and he urged them to continue to pursue his Communist dream for Cuba. On November 25, 2016, Fidel Castro died from natural causes. He left behind his spouse, Mirta Diaz-Balart, and his 11 children.

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