Fidel Castro's Biography
Fidel Castro (Ruz) was born in either 1926 or 1927 - depending on the source.
Fidel Castro survived nine US presidents, and was the third-longest serving head of state (after the Queen and the King of Thailand).
In August 2006, Castro gave up power temporarily (to his younger brother Raul) because of a suspected stomach ulcer and internal bleeding.
He later ceded power to Raul permanently.
In his younger days Fidel Castro was a lawyer in Havana fighting cases for the poor and against the corruption prevalent under President Fulgencio Batista.
In 1953, the revolutionary Castro led a failed uprising and was sentenced to 15 years, but was soon released under an amnesty and he fled to the USA and then to Mexico.
In 1956, Castro secretly went to Cuba again with a small group but was ambushed and escaped to the Sierra Maestra mountains.
In 1958, Castro made another attack and this time Batista was forced to flee and in February 1959, Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba.
Under Castro, Cuba underwent a period of reform assuming a Marxist-Leninist programme, but meanwhile elections were cancelled and repressive measures introduced against anti-communists.
In the early 1960s, in particular, Fidel Castro had run-ins with the USA. In particular, the failed invasion and assassination attempts of the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961 and the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis, after the Soviet Union had introduced ballistic missiles into Cuba during the height of the cold war.
Castro is also famous for his beard and his cigars. The CIA even tried to assassinate him with an exploding cigar!
Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA agent, was convicted in Panama over a 2000 plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. He was pardoned in 2004 by the former Panamanian president Mireya Moscoso. In 2005 His lawyer, Eduardo Soto, said that Luis Posada Carriles was seeking political asylum based on his work for the CIA in its attempts to remove Fidel Castro in the 1960s.
With less and less public appearances there had been concerns over Castro's health, however in January 2007, ABC News reported:
"A video of Fidel Castro aired by state television Tuesday evening has bolstered claims by officials and a Spanish doctor that the ailing Cuban president is not at death's door but on the mend ..."
In February 2008, Fidel Castro announced that he was retiring and would not accept another term as president.
Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raul.
In April 2009, Fidel Castro met three members of the US House of Representatives, in what was seen as an increased willingness on the part of Cuba and the USA to resolve tensions.
In July 2010, Fidel Castro made his first TV appearance in 11 months.
In February 2012, Fidel Castro made a public appearance to launch his memoirs, Guerrilla of Time.
Castro welcomed President Obama's announcement in December 2014 of the beginning of the USA ending trade and other sanctions.
Fidel Castro died on 25 November 2016.
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