Fidel Castro archival photo
At 91-year life died former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Castro led Cuba for nearly half a century. He held the posts of Chairman of the Council of Ministers (1959-2008.), Chairman of the Council of State of Cuba (1976-2008) and the first Secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist party of Cuba (1961-2011). Under his leadership, Cuba was transformed into a one-party socialist government, industry and private property nationalized, carried out large-scale reforms in the society. At the international level, he was Secretary-General of the non aligned Movement in 1979 to 1983 and 2006 to 2009.
Supporters called him commandante and praised as a fighter for socialism. Critics blamed him for the destruction of the Cuban economy and the imposition of a repressive regime that brutally suppressed the opposition.
The beginning of the struggle
Fidel Alejandro Castro RUz was born August 13, 1926 in Berane (province of Oriente, Cuba). The son of a major landowner, Castro has acquired a leftist anti-imperialist views during his studies at the law faculty of the University of Havana.
In 1952 Cuba had a revolution and came to power dictator Fulgencio Batista. Fidel and his supporters tried to storm the Moncada barracks in 1953, hoping thereby to provoke a rebellion in the province of Oriente. Operation failed, and Castro and his comrades were tried. In the process, Fidel, being a lawyer, made his famous speech, ending it with the phrase “History will absolve me”. Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but after less than 2 years were released under the Amnesty.
Fidel Castro and Che Guevara
A year after his release, he went to Mexico, where, together with Che Guevara and his brother raúl organized revolutionary “movement 26 of July”. Returning to Cuba, he led a guerrilla war against the Batista regime, which began with the landings on the coast and move to the mountains of the Sierra Maestra. As the deterioration of the situation of the Castro government gradually acquired the authority of the leader of the Cuban revolution, which led to the overthrow of Batista and the rise to power of the revolutionaries. 1 January 1959, the rebel army entered Havana.
Castro in power
Hundreds of former followers of Fulgencio Batista were executed after trials, which has caused serious doubts among many foreign observers. Castro responded to this criticism, stating that “revolutionary justice is not based on legal precepts, but on moral conviction”.
The new Cuban authorities have promised to give the land to the people and to protect the rights of the poor. But soon, the government introduced in the country a one-party system. Hundreds of people were in prisons and camps as political prisoners. Castro insisted his ideology is first of all pure Cuban. “It is not communism and not Marxism, but representative democracy and justice in a planned economy,” he said then.
Castro nationalized businesses and companies owned by Americans. In response, Washington imposed a trade embargo, which will last for many years and will be valid even in the twenty-first century.
The Cuban missile crisis
Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev
The U.S. administration, alarmed the friendly relations of Castro with the Soviet Union, organized a number of unsuccessful attempts to assassinate him and imposed economic embargo against Cuba. The peak of the confrontation was organized by the CIA’s unsuccessful military operation to overthrow him in 1961.
The United States tried to overthrow the Castro regime by Cuban immigrants who fled from the island. However, the Cuban army repelled the invasion at the Bay of Pigs.
Many were killed, about a thousand of the attackers were captured. It has been many versions of the failure of the operation. The most popular version of the refusal of the Americans from the previously promised military aid to the landing of the emigrants; the version of the incorrect assessment of the forces of the Cuban army and Castro’s support by the population version of the training operation itself.
In an effort to counter this threat, Castro entered into a military and economic Alliance with the Soviet Union, allowing the latter to place nuclear missiles in Cuba that, according to the American version, provoked the Caribbean crisis of 1962 (according to the Soviet version, the crisis was triggered by a previous deployment of American medium-range missiles in Turkey).
Help. The Cuban missile crisis is a historical term that defines extremely intense political, diplomatic and military confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States in October 1962, which was caused by the placement of US nuclear weapons in Turkey in 1961 and subsequently with secret transfer and accommodation in Cuba of the military units of the Soviet Armed forces, equipment and weapons, including nuclear weapons. The crisis could lead to global nuclear war. The Cubans call it the “October crisis” in the US, common name the “Cuban missile crisis”.
At the time of the crisis, the United States had the largest nuclear and conventional Arsenal and numerous delivery vehicles. It is accepted that “Black Saturday” October 27, 1962 — the day when the world was closest to global nuclear war. Castro, who believed that there is reliable information that the Americans in the morning going to bomb Soviet bases in Cuba, using the Soviet Ambassador to Cuba Alekseev, Khrushchev offered to strike a preventive nuclear attack on the United States, saying that the Cuban people are ready to sacrifice themselves in the victory over American imperialism. Khrushchev said that “comrade Fidel Castro” passed the nerves that negotiations with the Americans are successful.
The USSR dismantled the missile launchers in Cuba – it took 3 weeks. Convinced that the Soviet Union withdrew the missiles, President Kennedy on November 20, gave the order to end the blockade of Cuba. A few months later from Turkey have been withdrawn and American missiles “Jupiter” as “obsolete”. The USAF did not object to the cancellation of these IRBM, as by this time the US Navy has already deployed much more suitable for forward-deployed SLBMs “Polaris”, make “Jupiter” obsolete.
The crisis became a turning point in the nuclear race and the cold war. It was the beginning of the relaxation of international tension.
In 1962, the U.S. imposed an embargo on trade with Cuba and achieved its exclusion from the Organization of American States. Against the government of Castro was the accusation that it is providing assistance to the revolutionaries in Venezuela, after which the OAS in 1964 imposed diplomatic and commercial sanctions against Cuba.
Fidel Castro archival photo
Note that during his long life, Castro survived numerous assassination attempts. One of the guards Castro, Juan Reynado Sanchez, in his book “the secret life of Fidel Castro” claims that the leader of the Cuban revolution was carried out on 100 to 200 attempts. According to allegations in the press, attempts could be at least 600. None of the attacks did not cause Castro any physical or moral harm. The facts of the attempts of some attacks are still questionable.
Some documents about the plans of liquidation was declassified by U.S. intelligence, others told themselves the representatives of the Cuban intelligence services. Known attempts to eliminate Comandante:
in the beginning of one of Castro’s spies, posing as a peasant, entered the camp of Fidel. When the rebels stopped for the night, it turned out that the killer had nothing to hide, and Castro himself decided to cover a rookie with his own blanket. The agent spent the night side by side with the Comandante, but the shot was afraid, and next morning escaped from the camp;
– The CIA tried to remove Castro by hiring the pilot of the bomber who had filled a plastic vzryvchatku Cessna tourist plane crash into a residence Castro. The plane had to fly at a low altitude and thereby to remain out of sight of the radar. However, the plan failed because the contractor received the Deposit of 2 million dollars, disappeared without a trace;
– as a gift to Cuban leader was prepared with an exploding cigar, but the “gift” wasn’t passed by the security service, and later documents about exploding cigars has unveiled the NYPD;
– knowing about the passion Castro to diving, the U.S. intelligence distributed in the area of the Cuban coast a large number of molluscs. The CIA planned to hide explosives in a large clam shell and paint in bright colors to attract the attention of Fidel. However, the storm disrupted the attempt.
There have also been attempts to simply poison him to eliminate with the help of agents, gangsters, mistresses, and so on. And in some cases, the CIA tried to kill not so much as to embarrass Fidel Castro and ridicule (to shave his beard, spreading rumors that Castro was the Antichrist, etc.).
Himself Comandante, commenting on the assassination, once said: “If the ability to survive assassination attempts were an Olympic discipline, I would have her gold medal.”
At the same time Castro was not limited to the fight against the United States; it actively helped the “revolutionary forces” of many third world countries. His army at one time was 145 thousand people, not counting the 110 thousand people of the reserve and about one million men and women in militia of territorial troops; 57 thousand was sent to Angola, 5 million in Ethiopia, hundreds in southern Yemen, Libya, Nicaragua, Grenada, Syria, Mozambique, Guinea, Tanzania, North Korea, Algeria, Uganda, Laos, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone.
At the turn of XX and XXI centuries the views of the commander has softened considerably. In 1998, the year in Cuba since the historic visit of Pope John Paul II. And in 2012, the head of the Roman Catholic Church Benedict XVI arrived in Havana to meet with Raul Castro. According to representatives of the Vatican, a meeting was held in a “very cordial atmosphere”.
The announcement of President Barack Obama in December 2014, about the beginning of the collapse of the trade embargo and other U.S. sanctions was the beginning of the period of warming in relations between the two neighbouring countries. Castro welcomed the decision, saying that it was “a positive step towards peace in the region.”
However, he added that he still doesn’t trust the American government.
Fidel and Raul Castro, archive photo
July 26, 2006, the Cuban leader was in critical condition was taken to the hospital, he was diagnosed with bleeding in the intestines. A few days later the Secretary of Fidel Castro, Carlos Valenciaga read out live on Cuban television, the letter of Fidel Castro, in which he reports that he underwent surgery and that he would stay in bed for another few weeks.
The letter says that the reason for the operation was the bleeding in the intestine, possibly caused by stress after his trip to Argentina and Cuba. Fidel Castro temporarily handed over his powers to the head of state, commander of the armed forces of Cuba and head of the Communist party of Cuba to his younger brother Raul.
Raul Castro (5 years younger than Fidel) holds the post of first Deputy Chairman of the state Council, the second Secretary of the Cuban Communist party and Minister of defence. Fidel named his brother’s successor in 2001 after he lost consciousness at a rally in Havana: “He is the best prepared and has the most experience.”
2 Aug 2006 — a new letter to the people of Cuba, Fidel Castro announces information about his health a state secret. 28 Oct 2006 after six weeks of treatment, Cuban television showed footage of Fidel Castro addressed the people and denied the rumors about his death. But Castro remained in serious condition in the hospital.
In January 2008, Fidel Castro was re-elected as Deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Cuba, and on February 19 2008 announced it would not agree to re-occupy the posts of Chairman of the state Council and Supreme commander during the formation of the Supreme bodies of state power.