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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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During this time, Castro repeatedly denied being a Communist, but to many Americans, his policies looked like Soviet-style control of the economy and government. In April 1959, Castro and a delegation visited the United States as guests of the National Press Club. Castro hired a renowned public relations firm to help promote his tour. President Dwight Eisenhower, however, refused a meeting with him.
That May, Castro signed the First Agrarian Reform Law,
which limited the size of land holdings and forbade foreign property ownership. The intent was to develop a class of independent farmers. In reality, this program led to state land control with the farmers becoming mere government employees. By the end of 1959, Castro's revolution had become radicalized, with purges of military leaders and the suppression of any media critical of Castro's policies.
Castro's government also began to establish relations with the Soviet Union. The USSR sent more than 100 Spanish-speaking advisers to help organize Cuba's defense committee. In February 1960, Cuba signed a trade agreement to buy oil from the Soviet Union and established diplomatic relations. U.S.-owned refineries in Cuba refused to process the oil, so Castro expropriated the refineries. The United States retaliated by cutting Cuba's import quota on sugar. This began a decades-long contentious relationship between the two countries.
The year 1961 proved to be pivotal in Castro's relationship with the United States. On January 3, 1961, outgoing president Dwight Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. On April 16, Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state. The following day, 1,400 Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in an attempt to overthrow the Castro regime. The incursion ended in disaster; hundreds of the insurgents were killed and nearly 1,000 were captured. Though the United States denied any involvement, it was revealed that the Cuban exiles were trained by the Central Intelligence Agency and armed with U.S. weapons. Decades later, the National Security Archive revealed that the United States had begun planning an overthrow of the Castro government as early as October 1959. The invasion was conceived during the Eisenhower administration and inherited by President John F. Kennedy, who reluctantly approved its action but denied the invaders air support in hopes of hiding any U.S. participation.
Castro was able to capitalize on the incident to consolidate his power and further promote his agenda. On May 1, he announced an end to democratic elections in Cuba and denounced American imperialism. Then at year's end, Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist and announced the Cuban government was adopting communist economic and political policies. On February 7, 1962, the United States imposed a full economic embargo on Cuba, a policy that continues to this day.
Castro intensified his relations with the Soviet Union by accepting further economic and military aid.
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