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Marxist Cuban political leader Fidel Castro helped lead the Cuban Revolution, and served as president of Cuba from 1976 to 2008.
A look at the CIA's failed attempts at the assassination of Fidel Castro.
A brief look at Fidel Castro and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
CIA and a Cuban brigade planned an invasion on Castro and Cuba, but the plan quickly unravelled.
A brief history of the Cuban Revolution and the rise of Fidel Castro.
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Castro found himself without a legitimate political platform and little income with which to support the family. His marriage to Mirta eventually ended in 1955.
Batista set himself up as dictator, solidified his power with the military and Cuba's economic elite, and got his government recognized by the United States. Castro, along with fellow members of the Ortodoxo party who expected to win in the 1952 election, organized an insurrection. On July 26, 1953,
Castro and approximately 150 supporters attacked the Moncada military barracks in an attempt to overthrow Batista. The attack failed and Castro was captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, the incident fostered an ongoing opposition to the government and made Castro famous throughout Cuba.
Castro was released in 1955 under an amnesty deal with the Batista government. He went to Mexico, where he met Ernesto "Che" Guevara. There, he devised a new strategy to overthrow the Batista regime based on guerrilla warfare. Guevara believed that the plight of Latin America's poor could be rectified only through violent revolution. He joined Castro's group and became an important confidante, shaping Castro's political beliefs.
On December 2, 1956, Castro returned to Cuba with a boatload of 81 insurgents near the eastern city of Manzanillo. In short order, Batista's forces killed or captured most of the attackers. Castro, his brother Raul, and Guevara were able to escape into the Sierra Maestra mountain range along the island's southeastern coast. Over the course of the next two years, Castro's forces waged a guerrilla war against the Batista government, organizing resistance groups in cities and small towns across Cuba. He was also able to organize a parallel government, carry out some agrarian reform, and control provinces with agricultural and manufacturing production.
Beginning in 1958, Castro and his forces mounted a series of successful military campaigns throughout Cuba to capture and hold key areas of the country. Along with the loss of popular support and massive desertions in the military, Batista's government collapsed due to Castro's efforts. In January of 1959, Batista fled to the Dominican Republic. At the age of 32, Castro successfully concluded a classic guerrilla campaign to take control of Cuba.
A new government was created, with Jose Miro Cardona as prime minister, and it quickly gained the recognition of the United States. Castro arrived in Havana to cheering crowds and assumed the post of commander-in-chief of the military. In February 1959, Miro suddenly resigned, and Castro was sworn in as prime minister.
Castro implemented far-reaching reforms by nationalizing factories and plantations in an attempt to end U.S. economic dominance on the island. Major American companies felt the negative effects of the reforms, causing friction between Cuba and the United States. For example, the Castro government announced it was going to base compensation to foreign companies on the artificially low property values that the companies themselves had negotiated with past Cuban governments in order to keep their taxes low.
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