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Castro, Fidel (b. 1926)

Mike Gonzalez


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Few figures have excited such hostility or inspired such unconditional loyalty as Fidel Castro. The Cuban Revolution of 1959, from which Castro emerged the undisputed leader, turned the tide of politics in Latin America. The Revolution challenged the regional domination of the United States, which until then had regarded the southern continent as its backyard. The response from Washington, predictably, was to seek to overthrow Castro and bring down the Cuban Revolution by means ranging from crude attempts at assassination to full-scale military assault and economic siege. Forty-nine years later, an ailing Castro defiantly remained the leader and representative of a Cuba that has survived every attempt to destroy it, although the day-to-day tasks of leadership passed to his brother, Raúl. It is testimony to Castro's determination, his political skill, and his enormous personal authority that he has survived his erstwhile allies in the Soviet bloc and every external attempt to subvert his regime. Fidel was the third of five children born to Galician immigrants. The Castros became a landed family whose finca , at one point, measured 26,000 acres. In 1945 he entered the Faculty of Law at Havana University, where he became involved in an often violent world of student politics. The university directly reflected the wider society where successive presidents – Batista, Grau, and Prío ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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