[202], Militarily weaker than NATO, Khrushchev wanted to install Soviet R-12 MRBM nuclear missiles on Cuba to even the power balance. In April of that year the U.S. government secretly equipped thousands of Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro’s government; their landing at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, however, was crushed by Castro’s armed forces. What was the exact age of Fidel Castro? Personal Life: Affair, Girlfriends, Wife, Kids. Appalled, he raged that he would rather die "a thousand times" than "suffer impotently from such an insult". Castro was sentenced on 16 October, during which he delivered a speech that would be printed under the title of History Will Absolve Me. Castro had come to power with the support of most Cuban city dwellers on the basis of his promises to restore the 1940 constitution, create an honest administration, reinstate full civil and political liberties, and undertake moderate reforms. The Cuban primary education system offered a work-study program, with half of the time spent in the classroom, and the other half in a productive activity. Though Chibás came third in the 1948 general election, Castro remained committed to working on his behalf. [371] During the North Korea crisis of 2013, he urged both the North Korean and U.S. governments to show restraint. Most of Urrutia's cabinet were MR-26-7 members. All political dissent and opposition were ruthlessly suppressed. [326] By 2006, Cuba was the world's only nation which met the United Nations Development Programme's definition of sustainable development, with an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index of over 0.8. His speech was greeted with much applause from other world leaders,[274] though his standing in NAM was damaged by Cuba's refusal to condemn the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.[275]. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). [270] The Cuban intervention in Angola was envisioned as a short term commitment, but the Angolan government used the profits from the oil industry to subsidize Cuba's economy, making Cuba as economically dependent upon Angola as Angola was militarily dependent upon Cuba. [335] The alliance boosted the Cuban economy,[336] and in May 2005 Castro doubled the minimum wage for 1.6 million workers, raised pensions, and delivered new kitchen appliances to Cuba's poorest residents. [363], In July 2010, he made his first public appearance since falling ill, greeting science center workers and giving a television interview to Mesa Redonda in which he discussed U.S. tensions with Iran and North Korea. Margaret Thatcher. He provided them with a budget of $13 million and permitted them to ally with the Mafia, who were aggrieved that Castro's government closed down their brothel and casino businesses in Cuba. Pupo and her husband now live in Miami. [324], In the early 1990s Castro embraced environmentalism, campaigning against global warming and the waste of natural resources, and accusing the U.S. of being the world's primary polluter. [24] The military force consisted of around 1,200 troops, mostly Cubans and exiled Dominicans, and they intended to sail from Cuba in July 1947. But because he has the power to lead...we have no choice but at least try to orient him in the right direction". The iconic and polemic figure in world politics often used sports and athletic events as ways to promote the island's identity and nationalism. Interests Section in Havana Chief from 1979 to 1982, in 2007[401], Biographer Leycester Coltman described Castro as "fiercely hard-working, dedicated[,] loyal ... generous and magnanimous" but noted that he could be "vindictive and unforgiving". [90] The 1,900-kilometre (1,200 mi) crossing to Cuba was harsh, with food running low and many suffering seasickness. Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba with a 1,600-word letter in Granma. [332] ALBA sought to redistribute wealth evenly throughout member countries, to protect the region's agriculture, and to oppose economic liberalization and privatization. Most of the men were killed, and Castro himself was arrested. In the succeeding months, official photos were released of Fidel Castro in private meetings, and in July 2010 he made a public visit to the National Centre for Scientific Research in Havana. [130] More recent estimates place the death toll between 1,000[131] and 4,000. [456] The group's purpose was to oppose the influence of the violent gangs within the university; despite his promises, Prío had failed to control the situation, instead offering many of their senior members jobs in government ministries. They were a wealthy family. After a trial in which he conducted an impassioned defense, he was sentenced by the government to 15 years’ imprisonment. [387], Castro's government was also nationalistic, with Castro declaring, "We are not only Marxist-Leninists, but also nationalists and patriots". The Cuban economy, however, failed to achieve significant growth or to reduce its dependence on the country’s chief export, cane sugar. In 1948, Fidel Castro got married to Mirta Diaz-Balart. "[414] He promoted the idea that Jesus Christ was a communist, citing the feeding of the 5,000 and the story of Jesus and the rich young man as evidence. [123] Castro reached Havana on 9 January 1959. [169], In September 1960, Castro flew to New York City for the General Assembly of the United Nations. [244], In November 1971, Castro visited Chile, where Marxist President Salvador Allende had been elected as the head of a left-wing coalition. [118] Furious, Castro ended the ceasefire,[119] and ordered Cantillo's arrest by sympathetic figures in the army. [189] Castro's victory reverberated across the world, especially in Latin America, but it also increased internal opposition primarily among the middle-class Cubans who had been detained in the run-up to the invasion. [96] They began launching raids on small army posts to obtain weaponry, and in January 1957 they overran the outpost at La Plata, treating any soldiers that they wounded but executing Chicho Osorio, the local mayoral (land company overseer), who was despised by the local peasants and who boasted of killing one of Castro's rebels. [472] Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed him "one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century" and a "great friend", while South African President Jacob Zuma praised Castro for aiding black South Africans in "our struggle against apartheid". Fidel Castro died in 2016 at the age of 90. [86] Requiring funding, Castro toured the U.S. in search of wealthy sympathizers, there being monitored by Batista's agents, who allegedly orchestrated a failed assassination attempt against him. Further democratization was to be brought in by having the National Assembly's members elected directly by the people, rather than through municipal and provincial assemblies. His father, Ángel Castro y Argiz, a veteran of the Spanish–American War, was a migrant to Cuba from Galicia, in the northwest of Spain. [317] Fearing that dissident groups would invade, the government organised the "War of All the People" defense strategy, planning a widespread guerrilla warfare campaign, and the unemployed were given jobs building a network of bunkers and tunnels across the country. Fidel Castro sitting with his then-9-year-old son Fidel Jr. in 1959. [190], Consolidating "Socialist Cuba", Castro united the MR-26-7, PSP and Revolutionary Directorate into a governing party based on the Leninist principle of democratic centralism: the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (Organizaciones Revolucionarias Integradas – ORI), renamed the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution (PURSC) in 1962. A charismatic figure, Chibás advocated social justice, honest government, and political freedom, while his party exposed corruption and demanded reform. [226], In 1966, Castro staged a Tri-Continental Conference of Africa, Asia and Latin America in Havana, further establishing himself as a significant player on the world stage. [389] Castro biographer Sebastian Balfour noted that "the vein of moral regeneration and voluntarism that runs through" Castro's thought owes far more to "Hispanic nationalism" than European socialism or Marxism–Leninism. Fidel Castro's exact age was 90 years 3 months 12 days old.Fidel Castro lived for total 32,977 days. Political scientist Paul C. Sondrol has described Castro's approach to politics as "totalitarian utopianism",[396] with a style of leadership that drew upon the wider Latin American phenomenon of the caudillo. In response, Prío agreed to quell the gangs, but found them too powerful to control. However, Fidel Castro was quick to qualify his remarks in a speech that followed a few days later. [45] The Ortodoxo had considerable support and was predicted to do well in the election. [151][152], Although then refusing to categorize his regime as socialist and repeatedly denying being a communist, Castro appointed Marxists to senior government and military positions. On February 24, 2008, he gave the presidency of Cuba over to his brother, Raul. Fidel Castro was born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz on 13 August 1926, in Birán, Cuba, to Angel Castro y Argiz and Lina Ruz Gonzalez. [224] Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (/ˈkæstroʊ/;[1] American Spanish: [fiˈðel aleˈxandɾo ˈkastɾo ˈrus]; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and President from 1976 to 2008. [260] This was followed with visits to East Berlin and Moscow. [254], Castro considered Africa to be "the weakest link in the imperialist chain", and at the request of Angolan President Agostinho Neto he ordered 230 military advisers into Angola in November 1975 to aid Neto's Marxist MPLA in the Angolan Civil War. Yeltsin despised Castro and developed links with the Miami-based Cuban American National Foundation. [238] When that year's production quota was not met, Castro offered to resign during a public speech, but assembled crowds insisted he remain. Countering these threats, Castro aligned with the Soviet Union and allowed the Soviets to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, resulting in the Cuban Missile Crisis – a defining incident of the Cold War – in 1962. Former Cuban president Fidel Castro visiting a Havana school in 2016. The protesters held up signs that read, "Mr. Kennedy, Cuba is Not For Sale. [278] Increasing numbers of Cubans fled to Florida, but were labelled "scum" and "lumpen" by Castro and his CDR supporters. [76], In 1954, Batista's government held presidential elections, but no politician stood against him; the election was widely considered fraudulent. [26] The protests, accompanied by a crackdown on those considered communists, led to violent clashes between activists and police in February 1948, in which Castro was badly beaten. [443], – Peter Bourne, Castro Biographer, 1986[444], One of the most controversial political leaders of his era,[445] Castro both inspired and dismayed people across the world during his lifetime. [211], In May 1963, Castro visited the USSR at Khrushchev's personal invitation, touring 14 cities, addressing a Red Square rally, and being awarded both the Order of Lenin and an honorary doctorate from Moscow State University. [212] Castro returned to Cuba with new ideas; inspired by Soviet newspaper Pravda, he amalgamated Hoy and Revolución into a new daily, Granma,[213] and oversaw large investment into Cuban sport that resulted in an increased international sporting reputation. ", "How 1 man brought Fidel Castro to Montreal in April 1959", "Book reveals extent of Mafia's Cuban empire", "Cuban exiles seek compensation for seized property", "Cuban exiles hope diplomatic thaw can help them regain confiscated property", "Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property", "400 picket U.N. in salute to castro and lumumba. In on February 18, 1961, 400 people—mainly Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and college students—picketed in the rain outside of the United Nations rallying for Castro's anti-colonial values and his effort to reduce the United States' power over Cuba. [270] South African whites were vastly outnumbered by South African blacks, and accordingly the South African Army could not take heavy losses with its white troops as that would fatally weaken the ability of the South African state to uphold apartheid. Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926 – 2016 ) Cuban revolutionary and President of Cuba. ", "Viva Fidel Castro!" A reformer, he implemented measures to increase freedom of the press (glasnost) and economic decentralization (perestroika) in an attempt to strengthen socialism. Fidel passed away on November 25, 2016, at the age of 90. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos successfully appealed for more Cuban troops, with Castro later admitting that he devoted more time to Angola than to the domestic situation, believing that a victory would lead to the collapse of apartheid. He came to interpret Cuba's problems as an integral part of capitalist society, or the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", rather than the failings of corrupt politicians, and adopted the Marxist view that meaningful political change could only be brought about by proletariat revolution. Although described as a "relatively highly developed Latin American export economy" in 1959 and the early 1960s, Cuba's basic economic structure changed very little between then and the 1980s. [288] Castro feared a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua and sent Ochoa to train the governing Sandinistas in guerrilla warfare, but received little support from the USSR. Economic decision-making power was concentrated in a centralized bureaucracy headed by Castro, who proved to be an inept economic manager. in front of foreign journalists, while Cuba became the first Latin American nation to beat the U.S. to the top of the gold-medal table. The Castro family is shrouded in mystery, however, and little is known about his kids. Why should some live for thirty-five years, so that others can live for seventy years? [156] His regime remained popular with workers, peasants, and students, who constituted the majority of the country's population,[157] while opposition came primarily from the middle class; thousands of doctors, engineers and other professionals emigrated to Florida in the U.S., causing an economic brain drain. Castro conceded that those who wanted to leave could do so from Mariel port. [11], In 1945, Castro began studying law at the University of Havana. As in '68 and '92, here in Oriente we will give the first cry of Liberty or Death! His popularity was greater than ever. [166] Inspired by their earlier success with the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, in March 1960, U.S. President Eisenhower authorized the CIA to overthrow Castro's government. In 2003 the National Assembly confirmed Castro as president for another five-year term. [338] ALBA's origins lay in a December 2004 agreement signed between the two countries, and was formalized through a People's Trade Agreement also signed by Evo Morales' Bolivia in April 2006. He asserted that Castro "always had a keen sense of humor and could laugh at himself" but could equally be "a bad loser" who would act with "ferocious rage if he thought that he was being humiliated". [404] He claimed that Castro liked to meet with ordinary citizens, both in Cuba and abroad, but took a particularly paternal attitude toward Cubans, treating them as if "they were a part of his own giant family". [300] Gorbachev called for a negotiated end to the conflict and in 1988 organized a quadripartite talks between the USSR, U.S., Cuba and South Africa; they agreed that all foreign troops would pull out of Angola while South Africa agreed to grant independence to Namibia. However, after massive damage caused by Hurricane Michelle in 2001, Castro successfully proposed a one-time cash purchase of food from the U.S. while declining its government's offer of humanitarian aid. [242], In May 1970, the crews of two Cuban fishing boats were kidnapped by Florida-based dissident group Alpha 66, who demanded that Cuba release imprisoned militants. United States made almost 100 attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, all without success. [295] On 30 January 1988, Ochoa was summoned to a meeting with Castro in Havana where he was told that Cuito Cuanavale must not fall and to execute Castro's plans for a pull-back to more defensible positions over the objections of the Angolans. He has been very careful about that. [178] In September 1960, they created the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), a nationwide civilian organization which implemented neighborhood spying to detect counter-revolutionary activities as well as organizing health and education campaigns, becoming a conduit for public complaints. [88] Other militant anti-Batista groups had sprung up, primarily from the student movement; most notable was the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE), founded by José Antonio Echeverría. In 2008, he retired from the Presidency and adopted an advisory role in the Cuban Government. The cause of his death is Natural causes. CUBAN revolutionary leader Fidel Castro - who survived more than 600 assassination attempts - died in 2016 at the age of 90. World Leader #6. [450] The administration also relied heavily on its appeals to nationalistic sentiment, in particular the widespread hostility to the U.S. [349] In February 2007, Raúl announced that Fidel's health was improving and that he was taking part in important issues of government. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has died at age 90, according to Cuban state media, confirms NPR. There was ... no doubt about who the victors were. Together they had seven children; Fidel was one of them, and Raúl, who later became his brother’s chief associate in Cuban affairs, was another. [273] In 1979, the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was held in Havana, where Castro was selected as NAM president, a position he held until 1982. [70], Imprisoned with 25 comrades, Castro renamed his group the "26th of July Movement" (MR-26-7) in memory of the Moncada attack's date, and formed a school for prisoners. [154] A third part of this social program was the improvement of infrastructure. My still incipient Marxist ideas had nothing to do with our conduct – it was a spontaneous reaction on our part, as young people with, Marxism taught me what society was. [312] Castro tried improving relations with the capitalist nations. It was the first time since the 1959 revolution that he ceded control. In 1973, the military led a coup d'état and established a military junta led by Augusto Pinochet. [225] Castro was personally devastated when Guevara was killed by CIA-backed troops in Bolivia in October 1967 and publicly attributed it to Guevara's disregard for his own safety. Highlighting that he was soon to turn 90 years old, he noted that he would die in the near future but urged those assembled to retain their communist ideals. He then pushed Urrutia to issue a temporary ban on political parties; he repeatedly said that they would eventually hold multiparty elections. [305] In February 1990, Castro's allies in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas, were defeated by the U.S.-funded National Opposition Union in an election. There, the assassination of popular leftist leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala led to widespread rioting and clashes between the governing Conservatives – backed by the army – and leftist Liberals. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended when the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its nuclear weapons from Cuba in exchange for a pledge that the United States would withdraw the nuclear-armed missiles it had stationed in Turkey and no longer seek to overthrow Castro’s regime. [105] As Cuba's press was censored, Castro contacted foreign media to spread his message; he became a celebrity after being interviewed by Herbert Matthews, a journalist from The New York Times. Why should some be miserably poor, so that others can be hugely rich? Sturgis purchased boatloads of weapons and ammunition from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) weapons expert Samuel Cummings' International Armament Corporation in Alexandria, Virginia. I would not be stopped by the hatred and ill will of a few thousand people, including some of my relatives, half the people I know, two-thirds of my fellow professionals, and four-fifths of my ex-schoolmates. [59] The attack took place on 26 July 1953, but ran into trouble; 3 of the 16 cars that had set out from Santiago failed to get there. [84] Fidel liked him, later describing him as "a more advanced revolutionary than I was". [358] On 24 February 2008, the National Assembly of People's Power unanimously voted Raúl as president. [61] Meanwhile, some rebels took over a civilian hospital; subsequently stormed by government soldiers, the rebels were rounded up, tortured and 22 were executed without trial. Castro led Cuba in a Communist revolution which led to a profound change in the economic and political fortunes of the country. [230] The Cuban Revolution nevertheless did not meet the Marxist assumption that socialism would be achieved through proletariat revolution, for most of the forces involved in Batista's overthrow were led by members of the Cuban middle-class. But once established as Cuba’s leader he began to pursue more radical policies: Cuba’s private commerce and industry were nationalized; sweeping land reforms were instituted; and American businesses and agricultural estates were expropriated. Their marriage would end with Castro's death in 2016. Fidel Castro’s year of birth is officially listed as 1926, but some scholars believe that he was born in 1927. He was infuriated that the government had left thousands unemployed by closing down casinos and brothels. [221], – Walter Lippmann, Newsweek, April 27, 1964[222], Despite Soviet misgivings, Castro continued to call for global revolution, funding militant leftists and those engaged in national liberation struggles. [187], The CIA and the Democratic Revolutionary Front had based a 1,400-strong army, Brigade 2506, in Nicaragua. [126] Castro exercised a great deal of influence over Urrutia's regime, which was now ruling by decree. [330] Some economic problems remained; in 2004, Castro shut down 118 factories, including steel plants, sugar mills and paper processors to compensate for a critical shortage of fuel. [294] From afar in Havana, Castro was closely involved in the decision-making about the defense of Cuito Cuanavle and came into conflict with Ochoa, whom he criticized for almost losing Cuito Cuanavle to a South African assault on 13 January 1988 despite warning for almost two months prior that such an attack was coming. 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