Amidst major political shuffle in Cuba as well as declassification of a file by US, Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro has been in news. In that light, it’s perfect time to look at who Fidel Castro was, and how his regime drew strong reaction from both critics and supporters.
Crux of the Matter
Raul Steps Down
On 16 April, Raul Castro announced to step down as the head of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba. On the same day, US declassified documents regarding Raul.
Revelations Of The Declassified Document
- In 1960, Jose R Martinez, recruited by CIA of the US, was Raul’s pilot once.
- Martinez was given $10,000 to arrange an ‘accident’ to assassinate Raul.
- However, Martinez couldn’t find opportunity before it was called off.
Raul is the brother of Fidel Castro.
Then Who Was Fidel Castro?
Fidel was a Cuban revolutionary famous for establishing Communist regime in Cuba
- 1953: Attacked an army base of the US-backed General Fulgencio Batista, who had seized power in a coup. The attack failed and he was sentenced to 15 years jail.
- 1955: Went into exile in Mexico after being released early. He met Che Guevara there and formed guerilla group.
- 1956: Landed back in Cuba and started guerilla war against Batista.
- 1959: Batista was overthrown – Castro became the PM and later President.
- Nationalized businesses and industries.
- Brought universal healthcare and large-scale literacy schemes.
- Such measures are credited by experts to have uplifted the poor.
- He also banned critical press and jailed political opponents.
- Persecuted homosexual people and publicly accepted blame in 2010.
- The Cuban economy suffered from such strict rule and thousands of citizens fled to the US.
- Castro is renowned for his conflicts with the US.
- Even the 1961 ‘Bay of Pigs’ failed, where Cuban-exiles had attempted to overthrow Castro with US support under Kennedy.
- 1962: The conflict reached one climax as the Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles in Cuba capable of hitting the US. They later withdrew after US promised to withdraw from Turkey and to not invade Cuba again.
- US and Cuba didn’t have diplomatic relations between 1961 and 2014.
Castro survived 638 assassination plans as per Guinness World Records, mostly from the US. He retired in 2008 (49 years in power) before passing away in 2016 at age of 90.
An Unusual Friendship
- One of his most unusual friendships came with Argentina football legend Diego Maradona.
- Maradona famously considered Castro his “second father”.
He opened Cuba’s doors to me when clinics in Argentina were slamming them shut.Maradona on Castro
- Manuel Marrero Cruz is the current Prime Minister of Cuba since 2019. The position of Prime Minister was abolished 43 years, from 1976 to 2019.
- Cuba has no private hospitals or clinics. All health services are government-run.
- With a population of over 11 million, Cuba is the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Haiti.