Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro was born in the Oriente province of eastern Cuba.

He is still alive but it can only be a matter of time before his control is finally broken and Cuba again becomes a member of the international community. When that happens there are going to be massive business opportunities so it’s probably worth while giving an outline of Castro and his Cuba.

Fidel’s father was a wealthy Spanish immigrant who had made a fortune building railways to transport sugar cane. Fidel was educated at a Roman Catholic boarding school in Santiago de Cuba before entering university in Havana to study law.

While there he became involved in revolutionary politics and in 1947 took part in an abortive attempt by Dominican exiles and Cubans to overthrow the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. He was not yet an out and out Marxist but he was already an outspoken critic of America – despite a love of playing baseball.

In 1951, he ran for a seat in the Cuban House of Representatives but General before the polling day General Batista seized power in a bloodless coup.

Various groups formed to oppose Batista’s dictatorship, and on July 26, 1953, Castro led 160 rebels in an attack on the Cuba’s second largest military base at Santiago de Cuba. The attack failed and Castro was captured and put on trial for conspiring to overthrow the Cuban government. During his trial, he argued that he and his rebels were fighting to restore democracy to Cuba, but he was nonetheless found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Two years later, Batista felt confident enough in his power that he granted a general amnesty to all political prisoners, including Castro. Castro then went with his brother Raul to Mexico, and they organized the revolutionary 26th of July Movement, enlisting recruits and joining up with Ernesto “Che” Guevara, an idealist Marxist from Argentina.

On December 2, 1956, Castro and 81 armed men landed on the Cuban coast. All of them were killed or captured except for Castro, Raul, Che, and nine others, who retreated into the Sierra Maestra mountain range to wage a guerrilla war against the Batista government. They were joined by revolutionary volunteers from all over Cuba and won a series of victories over Batista’s demoralized army. Castro was supported by the peasantry, to whom he promised land reform, while Batista received aid from the United States, which bombed suspected revolutionary positions.

Over the next two years opposition to Batista grew to the extent that the US withdrew their aid and in December of 1958, the 26th of July forces under Che Guevara attacked the city of Santa Clara, and Batista’s forces crumbled. Batista fled to the Dominican Republic and Castro took control of the Cuban government’s 30,000-man army. The other rebel leaders lacked the popular support the young and charismatic Castro enjoyed, and on February 16 he was sworn in as prime minister of the country’s new provisional government.

The United States initially recognized the new Cuban dictator but withdrew its support after Castro launched a program of agrarian reform, nationalized U.S. assets on the island, and declared a Marxist government. Many of Cuba’s wealthiest citizens fled to the United States, where they joined the CIA in its efforts to overthrow Castro’s regime. In April 1961, with some training and support by the CIA, the Cuban exiles launched a disastrously unsuccessful invasion of Cuba known as the “Bay of Pigs.” The Soviet Union reacted to the attack by escalating its support to Castro’s communist government and in 1962 placed offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba. The discovery of the missiles by U.S. intelligence led to the tense “Cuban Missile Crisis,” which ended after the Soviets agreed to remove the weapons in exchange for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba.

Castro’s Cuba was the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere, and Castro remained in power until February 2008 when he stepped down because of ill health, being replaced by his brother, Raul. He outlasted nine U.S. presidents who opposed him with economic embargoes and political rhetoric.

It can only be a matter of time before the Americans remove their embargo on travelling to, investing in, or doing business with Cuba and when that happens the influx of tourism and development will be enormous.

2 Responses to “Fidel Castro was born on Friday 13th August 1926”

  1. Ivan says:

    Ran in front locomotive, which arrived late.

  2. Mobic says:

    Actually, quite frankly, the commentary is more interesting messages themselves. (Not to insult the author, of course:))

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