Cuba’s long time former leader Fidel Castro died on Friday.
The 90 year old, who held a strict control over Cuba for almost 50 years, had been sick for quite some time. His ongoing health issues finally led Fidel to hand over his reign of the country to his brother Raul back in 2008.
Fidel Castro was a soldier, revolutionary, lawyer and political leader. He was born August 13, 1926 out of wedlock to a Cuban sugar plantation owner and one of the home’s servants.
— Lori Hendry 🐸 (@Lrihendry) November 26, 2016
Though he spent the better part of his life railing against capitalism and the rich, Castro enjoyed a wealthy and privileged childhood. He attended Jesuit boarding schools, and developed a love for sports, pitching for El Colegio de Belen’s baseball team. He attended the University of Havana law school, where he joined groups that focused on Cuban nationalism and socialism.
After graduation and now a revolutionary, he took up arms against the government of President Fulgencio Batista, leading a failed 1953 attack on a military barracks in hopes of triggering a popular revolt. Instead he was captured and at his trial, where he led his own defense, famously predicted “history will absolve me.”
After spending time in prison, Castro went into exile in Mexico, where he met Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who became his confidante. Castro established another guerrilla force and after several years of fighting, eventually defeated Batista in 1959, taking control of Cuba at the age of 32.
After being sworn in as prime minister, Castro began a series of reforms, many designed to end US economic power on the island. Relations between the two countries frayed and when Castro visited the US later that year, President Dwight Eisenhower refused to meet with him.
At the same time, Castro’s government began to establish relations with the Soviet Union. In April 1961 Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state just days before the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion that saw 1,400 Cuban exiles trained by the CIA unsuccessfully attempt to invade and topple his government.
Castro intensified relations with the Soviet Union and in 1962 US reconnaissance planes discovered Soviet missiles on their way to Cuban sites, precipitating a tense standoff between President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.”
There have been many times over the years when rumors about his death circulated.
Castro once said in a speech, “I think I hold the dubious record of having been the target of more assassination attempts than any politician, in any country, in any era.” The day I die, nobody will believe it.”
Fidel Castro is dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2016
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CASTRO
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