Who was Fidel Castro
The ruler of Cuba and a dictator for over 45 years was Fidel Castro. In 1959, he led the Cuban Revolution during the overthrow of then President Batista, resulting in the installation of a communist Marxist government. He remained Cuba's leader between 1958 and 2008.
Castro was born on a farm in 1926 and attending Jesuit boarding schools growing up and initially used name of Fidel Ruiz, until his father, Angel Castro, married his mother. In 1945, he attended the University of Havana law school becoming involved in politics and beginning his protest of the government at the time. He believed the Cuban government was corrupt and that the United States was much too involved in Cuban affairs.
His beliefs about the government motivated him to run for political office in 1952 and a seat at Cuba's House of Representatives. However, the existing government was overthrown by General Fulgencio Batista and the elections were cancelled, which prompted Castro to begin a revolution or a revolt to take over the government.
He and his brother, Raul, though, tried to take over the government but were captured and sent to prison for two years. The arrest did not cause him to give up. He traveled to Mexico and began planning another take-over of the Cuban government. While there, he met Che Guevara, who would become another leader of the revolution.
They returned to Cuba with a small Army on December 2, 1956 but were quickly defeated by Batista's army. The two men, though, escaped into the hills of Cuba and began a guerilla war against the current leader, which included small-scale actions against the Cuban army. Eventually, the two men gathered enough supporters and overthrew Batista's government on January 1, 1959. In the following July Castro took over and ruled Cuba for nearly 50 years.
Castro used his philosophy of Marxism and communism to create a new Cuban government and took over much of the industry of the country. He also took control of farms and other businesses which had been owned by Americans. In addition, freedom of speech and press became very limited and anyone opposed to his rule would be sent to prison or executed, leading many people to flee the country.
Many people over the years have left Cuba for the United States and have settled in Florida. During Castro's reign, he heavily relied on the Soviet Union for support, but in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. This led to many problems in Cuba.
During Castro's rule, The U.S. tried several times to remove him from power, but failed each time. One time included the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. It was ordered by President John F. Kennedy but most invaders who were trained by the CIA were captured or killed.
In 2006, Fidel Castro's health began to fail and on February 24, 2008 he handed the leadership of the country over to his brother, Raul.
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