by Martin Higgins
"I have concluded- maybe a little late- that speeches must be short" ~Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro came to a rise in power when he used guerrilla warfare tactics to overthrow the Cuban leader Batista in 1959. He soon penetrated himself into the power structure becoming the Commander in Chief to Jose Miro Cardona who in February 1959 suddenly resigned, and Castro was sworn in as prime minister. As he settled into his new position, he started off with ideas which seemed to grow in radical-ness. He denied being a communist for many years even though the programs he was instituting were indeed, very communist. And by the end of 1959, his reign of suppression started, suppressing military leaders, news sources, etc. Into the later years, he started growing relations with the Soviet Union. When Castro agreed to buy Soviet Oil, the US refineries in Cuba stopped producing which led to the cancelling of sugar imports to Cuba. This started the decades of bad relations between the two nations. 1961 proved to be an intense year as it was the Bay of Pigs invasion and also the closest the world has come to a global nuclear war; The Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1976 he became president of Cuba and he left office in 2008.
This is one of the many propaganda billboards that Castro had scattered around his country, commonly near large population centers. This one reads "Socialism or Death", Castro wanted everyone to be on board with his socialist policies or they could suffer death. Also, Castro's head is made to be grand, as he was trying to promote himself as much as possible.
Castro addressing the people following the Bay of Pigs invasion
"... This is our time of need, Your homelands time of need! We need to crush this opposition, kill the plague before it sets in. Socialism must win! We must triumph during this incursion on our soil, cut off the head before its rash ideas spread. There is no doubt in my mind that the US are behind this invasion no matter how much they try to deny it, Khrushchev also supports my theory. They are afraid to have such a great nation on its doorstep. This is why i'm calling on you; the people, to bring forth any possible snakes in our homeland, so that we can crush the domestic issues before they bring forth the infection."
What effect did Fidel Castro placing the foundation to a socialist society 90 miles away from US shores have on American moral leading into the conflict in Vietnam.