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|Castro in front of a Havana statue of Cuban national hero José Martí in 2003|
|President of Cuba|
December 2, 1976 – February 24, 2008
|Preceded by||Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado|
|Succeeded by||Raúl Castro|
|First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba|
July 1961 – 19 April 2011
|Born|| August 13, 1926|
Birán, Oriente Province, Cuba
|Spouse(s)|| Mirta Diaz-Balart (m. 1948-1955)|
Dalia Soto del Valle (m. 1980-present)
|Relations|| Ángel Castro y Argiz (father)|
Ramón Castro Ruz (brother)
Raúl Castro (brother)
Juanita Castro (sister)
|Children||9, including Alina Fernández|
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) is a Cuban revolutionary and politician. He was Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and President from 1976 to 2008. He temporarily gave power to his brother Raúl Castro while recovering from surgery in summer of 2006. On February 19, 2008, he announced that he would not return to power. He was in power for 49 years.
Fidel Castro has a doctorate of law from the University of Havana. He was trained as a military lawyer. He came to power after he and his guerrilla soldiers overthrew the dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista.
Castro is a communist, and he made Cuba the first socialist country of the Americas. During the Cold War he was a friend of the Soviet Union, and he depended on their help until the USSR collapsed. An important moment of the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. In 1961 the United States of America discovered that the Soviet Union was placing missiles on Cuba, close to the United States. After very tense talking, a big nuclear war was avoided between the Soviet Union and the USA.
Some people call Castro a dictator. They criticize him, because they think he has ignored some human rights, for example, torture, murder and oppression of freedom of speech, both at home and in African countries where he sent Cuban soldiers to spread Communism. Other people do not think this is true. For example, Nelson Mandela has spoken in support of Castro and has thanked him for aid to Africa. Amnesty International criticized Cuba's human rights record but noted slow progress in July of 2002. Supporters of Castro say he gave Cuba the best health care and education of Latin America and created equality between the poor and the rich.
- "Fidel Castro announces retirement, at BBC Online". http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7252109.stm.
- "Mensaje del Comandante en Jefe (Spanish, original letter at Granma)". http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2008/02/19/nacional/artic03.html.
- "Message from the Commander in Chief (English translation of the Letter, at Granma)". http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2008/02/19/nacional/artic10.html.
- By Fidel Castro
- About Fidel Castro
- Guide to the Cuban Revolution Collection, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library