He was born in 1926 on 13th August in Cuba near a place called Birán. He used guerrilla warfare tactics in 1959 to take Cuba away from the then leader Batista and basically swore himself into power and stayed for a long time, he became prime minister initially.
While he was leader he connected with the Soviet Union and set up economic and military relations with them, which didn’t do much for USA’s feelings towards Cuba. This friendship with the Soviet Union came to a small head with the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1976 he became president of Cuba and moved on from his prime minister role, which he walked into. He led his country for 49 years and in the US there were 10 presidents.
Here are 10 things you may or may not have known about Fidel Castro
- His father was from Spain, the Galician region and became a wealthy landowner, he did extremely well as he began as an immigrant labourer. Fidel himself was born in Cuba near Birán as you know, if you read the beginning of this post. Castro once said that it wasn’t good to say I was the son of a wealthy landowner, so let us all know that I was the grandson of peasants from the Galician region who were exploited. He said this in 992 in an interview.
- While at law school he started becoming active in the political scene, while at Havana’s University.
- Castro’s limousines are now taxi’s in Cuba, how cool is that and ironic. (side note: my favourite limo company in England is wigan limo)
- Although a man of the people he married a wealthy daughter who were linked to the Batista regime, her name was Mirta Diaz Balart. Fidelito their son was born in 1949, his name means little Fidel.. While in prison, Mirta applied for divorce after receiving love letters intended for another woman; Natalia Revuelta a Cuban socialite. The letters to his wife and Natalia Revuelta were changed over and it is rumoured to have been the handiwork of the prison director.
- In 1985 he stopped smoking for his health, but was famously known for puffing on a big Havana.
- While in the mountains as a young man he grew his famous beard, this was while being a young revolutionary. The beard was a very well calculated facial expression, not just a symbolic gesture of a tough guerrilla fighter but he said it takes 5,000 minutes a year to shave (15 minutes a day) and he had much more important things to do with his time than shave. Personally I think if it didn’t make him look cool he would not have done that. Just saying…
- The book “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemmingway that was set in the 1930’s during the civil war in Spain was one of his favourite reads.
- Famous for his very very long speeches, some taking (yawn) 7 hours, he was not a prolific writer, he has not published much at all, I guess he was better at speaking…
- He loved reading, cooking and spearfishing when he was younger.
- His view expressed in 1994 was that Cuba can only be ruled by the revolution, when asked about political liberalization in an interview with a USA news crew.
What was your most interesting fact?
I have to love the 5,000 minute calculation to save time by not shaving. And his limos are being driven around as taxi’s now.