FIDEL CASTRO
by Wesley Pelletier

1) Profile of your leader

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926 near Birán, in Cuba's eastern Oriente Province. He is extremely passionate about social justice. attempted to overthrow the dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1947. Castro was captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison which made Castro famous throughout Cuba. Castro was released in 1955 under an amnesty deal with the Batista government. He devised a new strategy to overthrow the Batista regime based on guerrilla warfare. Castro met Ernesto "Che" Guevara who became an important confidante, shaping Castro's political beliefs. Castro implemented far-reaching reforms by nationalizing factories and plantations in a valiant effort to end U.S. economic dominance on the island. After the battle that happened in The bay of Pigs Castro was able to capitalize on the incident and solidify his power continuing his plans. Castro congealed his relations with the Soviet Union by accepting further economic and military aid. In October 1962, his increasing need of Soviet aid brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

2) Audio/Visual/Artistic Element

    Fidel earned respect early by excelling in his studies and in athletics. He entered college in 1945 Castro started an insurgency campaign to put an end to Batista's illegitimate reign which eventually he succeeded and exiled him. Castro was a hero to his people but was still a threat to the U.S. tensions arose between the U.S. and Cuba because of the Cuban missile crisis. Cuba was declared a Socialist state and foreign assets were seized and farm land was redistributed. While doing all of this Castro maintained a low profile and ceased to make himself look like a puppet of the soviet union. Fidel remained a dictator despite the progress he claimed he made wielding absolute power over Cubans. Without the help of the Soviet Union Cuba faced economic ruin and Cubans began fleeing to southern states. He temporarily handed over power to his brother to recoup for an illness and announced he wouldn't return.          

3) Creative Piece

From Ruz to Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926 (though some say he was born a year later), near Birán, in Cuba's eastern Oriente Province. Fidel Castro was the third of six children, including his two brothers, Raul and Ramon; and three sisters, Angelita, Emma and Augustina. His father, Angel, was a wealthy sugar plantation owner originally from Spain. His mother, Lina Ruz Gonzalez, had been a maid to Angel's first wife, Maria Luisa Argota, at the time of Fidel's birth. By the time Fidel was 15, his father dissolved his first marriage and wed Fidel's mother. At age 17, Fidel was formally recognized by his father and his name was changed from Ruz to Castro. Educated in private Jesuit boarding schools, Castro grew up in wealthy circumstances amid the poverty of Cuba's people. He was intellectually gifted, but more interested in sports than studies. He attended El Colegio de Belen and pitched for the school's baseball team. After his graduation in late 1945, Castro entered law school at the University of Havana and became immersed in the political climate of Cuban nationalism, anti-imperialism and socialism.

4) Essential Question

Did Fidel Castro benefit or hurt Cuba during his reign?