Fidel Castro

President of Cuba
Born Aug 13, 1926

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who was Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the Commander in Chief of the country's armed forces from 1959, and as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Fidel Castro.


1926 Birth Castro was born out of wedlock at his father's farm on August 13, 1926. … Read More


1945 18 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1945 he transferred to the more prestigious Jesuit-run El Colegio de Belén in Havana. … Read More
1946 19 Years Old Castro became critical of the corruption and violence of President Ramón Grau's government, delivering a public speech on the subject in November 1946 that received coverage on the front page of several newspapers.


1947 - 1952 9 More Events
1953 26 Years Old 1 More Event
Born in Birán as the son of a wealthy farmer, Castro adopted leftist anti-imperialist politics while studying law at the University of Havana. After participating in rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he planned the overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, launching a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. … Read More
…  Initially permitted a relative amount of freedom within the prison, he was locked up in solitary confinement after inmates sang anti-Batista songs on a visit by the President in February 1954. … Read More
Backed by the U.S. and major corporations, Batista believed Castro to be no threat, and on May 15, 1955, the prisoners were released. … Read More


1957 - 1958 6 More Events
After Batista's overthrow in 1959, Castro assumed military and political power as Cuba's Prime Minister.
1960 33 Years Old 1 More Event
…  After conservative press expressed hostility towards the government, the pro-Castro printers' trade union disrupted editorial staff, and in January 1960 the government ordered them to publish a "clarification" written by the printers' union at the end of articles critical of the government. … Read More
The United States was alarmed by Castro's friendly relations with the Soviet Union, and unsuccessfully attempted to remove him by assassination, economic blockade, and counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.
Countering these threats, Castro formed an alliance with the Soviets and allowed them to place nuclear weapons on the island, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis—a defining incident of the Cold War—in 1962. … Read More
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. … Read More


1967 40 Years Old Castro was personally devastated when Guevara was subsequently killed by CIA-backed troops in Bolivia in October 1967 and publicly attributed it to Che's disregard for his own safety.
In turn, Soviet-loyalist Aníbal Escalante began organizing a government network of opposition to Castro, though in January 1968, he and his supporters were arrested for allegedly passing state secrets to Moscow.
1969 42 Years Old Castro publicly celebrated his administration's 10th anniversary in January 1969; in his celebratory speech he warned of sugar rations, reflecting the nation's economic problems. … Read More
1971 44 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In April 1971, Castro was internationally condemned for ordering the arrest of dissident poet Heberto Padilla; Padilla was freed, but the government established the National Cultural Council to ensure that intellectuals and artists supported the administration.
1973 46 Years Old In September 1973, he returned to Algiers to attend the Fourth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). … Read More
1975 48 Years Old 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 Southern Africa in November 1975 to aid Neto's Marxist MPLA in the Angolan Civil War. … Read More


1977 50 Years Old In 1977 the Ethio-Somali War broke out over the disputed Ogaden region as Somalia invaded Ethiopia; although a former ally of Somali President Siad Barre, Castro had warned him against such action, and Cuba sided with Mengistu Haile Mariam's Marxist government of Ethiopia. … Read More
Castro extended support to Latin American revolutionary movements, namely the Sandinista National Liberation Front in its overthrow of the Nicaraguan rightist government of Anastasio Somoza Debayle in July 1979. … Read More
1981 54 Years Old 1 More Event
…  The event destabilized Carter's administration and in 1981 the right-wing Ronald Reagan was elected U.S. President. … Read More
1982 55 Years Old Although despising Argentina's right wing military junta, Castro supported them in the 1982 Falklands War against Britain and offered military aid to the Argentinians.
1983 56 Years Old 1 More Event
When Bishop was executed in a Soviet-backed coup by hard-line Marxist Bernard Coard in October 1983, Castro condemned the killing but cautiously retained support for Grenada's government. … Read More


1987 60 Years Old By November 1987, Castro began spending more time on the Angolan Civil War, in which the Marxists had fallen into retreat. … Read More
1989 62 Years Old 1 More Event
A number of senior military officers, including Ochoa and Tony de la Guardia, were investigated for corruption and complicity in cocaine smuggling, tried, and executed in 1989, despite calls for leniency.
1990 63 Years Old 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. … Read More
1991 64 Years Old 1 More Event
Castro hoped for a restoration of Marxism-Leninism in the USSR, but refrained from backing the 1991 coup in that country. … Read More
1994 67 Years Old 1 More Event
In August 1994, Havana witnessed the largest anti-Castro demonstration in Cuban history, as 200 to 300 young men threw stones at police, demanding that they be allowed to emigrate to Miami. … Read More
1995 - 1998 2 More Events
In 2001 he attended the Conference Against Racism in South Africa at which he lectured on the global spread of racial stereotypes through U.S. film. Mired in economic problems, Cuba would be aided by the election of socialist and anti-imperialist Hugo Chávez to the Venezuelan Presidency in 1999. … Read More
2002 - 2005 3 More Events
2006 79 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2006 he transferred his responsibilities to Vice-President Raúl Castro, who formally assumed the presidency in 2008. … Read More
2007 - 2009 3 More Events
2010 83 Years Old 1 More Event
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.
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