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Fidel Castro

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Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro (August 13th, 1926 - November 25th, 2016) was the leftist leader of Communist Cuba. He was the son of a wealthy farmer and was an important proponent of Fulgencia's overthrowing. He had been known to try to assassinate the leader as well. He allied with the Soviet Union, and the CIA tried to assassinate him, including the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. After the CIA failed, the Soviet Union gave Cuba permission to use nuclear missiles. This resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the United States eventually needed to agree that it would never invade Russia and Cuba and that they would never use the missiles. 

Government: He was an authoritarian figure who was Marxist Communist and believed in anti-fascism, welfare, socialism, and no businesses. His idea was to have the government control all manufacturing. While many believed him to be a hero who was combatting conservatism, many believe him to have abused his powers.

In a dire economic situation, the Cuban government turned to the Soviets for help. From 1970 through to 1972, Soviet economists re-planned and organized the Cuban economy, founding the Cuban-Soviet Commission of Economic, Scientific and Technical Collaboration, while Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin (1904–1980) visited Cuba in late 1971. In July 1972, Cuba would successfully apply for membership of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), an economic organization of socialist states, although this move only served to further limit Cuba's economy to agricultural production. Aside from the economy, Castro's Cuba also faced other problems in the early 1970s: in May 1970, Alpha 66, a militant Cuban dissident group based in Florida, sank two Cuban fishing boats and captured their crews, demanding the release of Alpha 66 members imprisoned in Cuba. Under U.S. government pressure, the hostages were released, with Castro welcoming them back as heroes. In April 1971, Castro gained international condemnation after ordering the arrest of Herberto Padilla, a Cuban poet who had won an international prize but whose views were critical of the government. Padilla fell ill, with Castro visiting him in hospital; soon after, the poet publicly confessed his guilt and was released. Soon, the government formed the National Cultural Council through which it ensured that intellectuals and artists produced work that supported their administration.  In 2005, he left his ruling status to his brother Raúl, who is still the leader.

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