Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 - November 25, 2016) was the communist dictator of Cuba from his usurpation of the government in January 1959 until his retirement in February 2008. Castro began his political life with nationalist critiques of Batista, and of United States political and corporate influence in Cuba. He gained an ardent, but limited, following and also drew the attention of the authorities. He eventually led the failed 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks, after which he was captured, tried, incarcerated and later released. He then traveled to Mexico to organize and train for the guerrilla invasion of Cuba that took place in December 1956.
He came to power in an armed coup d'etat that overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista, and was shortly thereafter sworn in as the Prime Minister of Cuba. In 1965 he became First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and led the transformation of Cuba’s political system into a one-party socialist republic. In 1976, he became President of the Council of State as well as of the Council of Ministers. He also held the supreme military rank of Comandante en Jefe ("Commander in Chief") of the Cuban armed forces.
Following intestinal surgery from an undisclosed digestive illness believed to have been diverticulitis, he transferred his responsibilities to the First Vice-President, his younger brother Raúl Castro, on July 31, 2006. On February 19, 2008, five days before his mandate was to expire, he announced he would neither seek nor accept a new term as either president or commander-in-chief. On February 24, 2008, the National Assembly elected Raúl Castro to succeed him as the President of Cuba. Fidel Castro remains First Secretary of the Communist Party.
Fidel Castro was born to Ángel Castro y Argiz and María Luisa Argota in 13 August 1926 at Birán, Cuba. The family of his father was from Galicia, in the north-west of Spain, who arrived in the late 19th century as a soldier during the revolt in Cuba against Spain and was later an owner of a sugar cane farm.
During the early 1940s especially, Castro took an interest in radical politics of various shades, including nationalist politics which would later look out of place considering his eventual path. Castro is said to have read all of José Antonio Primo de Rivera works including Obras and according to a close school friend, José Luis Alemán, "Fidel was especially impressed by falangist ideas".
See the article on Cuba and the external links there.
- Fidel Castro to light Menorah at YnetNews.com
- DePalma, Anthony (2006). The Man Who Invented Fidel. Public Affairs.
- Bockman, Larry James (April 1 1984). The Spirit Of Moncada: Fidel Castro's Rise To Power, 1953 - 1959. Retrieved on 2006-06-13.
- Sweig, Julia E. (2002). Inside the Cuban Revolution. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-00848-0.
- 1959: Castro sworn in as Cuban PM. BBC News. Retrieved on 2006-06-06.
- Spanish newspaper gives more details on Castro condition. CNN. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
- Castro, Fidel (February 19 2008). "Mensaje del Comandante en Jefe" (in Spanish). Granma. Archived from the original on 2006-11-24. http://web.archive.org/web/20061124123016/http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/pdf/pagina1.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- Castro, Fidel (February 19 2008). "Message from the Commander in Chief". Granma. http://granma.cu/ingles/2008/febrero/mar19/mensaje-i.html. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "Raul Castro named Cuban president". BBC. 2008-02-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7261204.stm. Retrieved 2008-02-24. "Raul, 76, has in effect been president since and the National Assembly vote was seen as formalising his position."
- Suchlicki 2002, p. 112.
- Payne 2000, p. 192.
- Betto, Frei (1988). Fidel and religion: Castro talks on revolution and religion with Frei Betto. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0671662376.
- Suchlicki, Jamie (2002). Cuba: from Columbus to Castro and beyond. Brassey's. ISBN 1574884360.
- Payne, Stanley G (2000). The Phoenix: Franco Regime 1936-1975. Phoenix Press. ISBN 1842120468.
- Miller, Tom (2008). Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro's Cuba. Basic Books. ISBN 0465005039.