Fidel Castro History
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 2016) In case you need a refresher on who Fidel Castro is we have the high points for you here.
Fidel Castro overthrew the Cuban government in a 1959 revolution and was Cuba’s dictator until 2008 when his brother Raul Castro took over. He was the son of a wealthy Spanish farmer and studied law at the University of Havana in Cuba. Castro adopted leftist anti-imperialist politics while a student a the University of Havana.
Before overthrowing the Cuban government in 1959 he participated in rebellions in the Dominican Republic and Columbia. After the revolution Castro assumed total control of Cuba and aligned with the Soviet Union as a satellite. The United States strongly opposed the Castro regime in Cuba and unsuccessfully attempted to remove him by assassination, economic blockade, and counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961.
The Soviets placed nuclear weapons on Cuba, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis. This was a defining incident of the Cold War in 1962. Castro was a brutal dictator imposing a Marxist-Leninist model of development, Castro converted Cuba into a one-party, socialist state under Communist Party rule. Policies introducing central economic planning and expanding healthcare and education including state control of the press and the suppression of internal dissent. Abroad, Castro supported anti-imperialist revolutionary groups, backing the establishment of Marxist governments.
The Cuban Embargo began in 1958 and was expanded in 1962 to include almost all imports under President John F. Kennedy. Legend has it President Kennedy ordered 1000’s of his favorite Cuban cigars be delivered just before he signed the Cuban Embargo.
In 1959 millions of people fled Cuba in search of a new start. Many of the great premium cigar brands today were started by these Cuban exiles. Many of these people were wealthy business owners who were forced to flee Cuba with nothing and start over. Many fled to to the US (Miami), Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras.
Fidel Castro’s death
Fidel Castro dead at 90. Many people thought this day would never come. Fidel Castro outlasted 10 US president and pushed the world to the brink of nuclear destruction. Power was officially transferred to Raul Castro, his brother though in reality Raul has been in control since 2006 when Fidel’s health started to decline.
Fidel Castro held on to power longer than any other living ruler other than Queen Elizabeth II. What does this mean for the Cuban people? Raul Castro seems to be a less extreme version of Fidel. He has eased restrictions on the Cuban people though still refuses recognize many of the reforms the US government would like to see in Cuba.
It is likely the US embargo on Cuban goods will stay in place for many more years. Most people believe the embargo will be in place at least until Raul Castro is gone and Cuba undergoes government reforms.
Fidel Castro Children
Fidel Castro was married officially once but is reported to have secretly married again in 1980. He is said to have at least 11 children. Ironically Fidel and his first wife spent their 1948 honeymoon in Miami and New York. Websites report Castro had 5 boys between 1962 and 1974 with Dalia Soto del Valle, a little-seen companion whom he is said to have secretly married in 1980. Some biographies do not mention her and she was hidden from the Cuban public. Castro had a daughter named Alina with Natalia Revuelta, his mistress who has been living in exile since December of 1993. It is also reported Castro had many mistresses over the years.
Fidel Castro Net Worth
The story told to the Cuban people during the reign of Fidel Castro was he made only 900 pesos ($38) per month and owned no property other than a small fishing hut on the coast. The master of propaganda cast himself as a man of the people. In reality, Castro is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and owns 20+ properties including a duck hunting chalet and a private marina at the Bay of Pigs.
Fidel kept his family hidden away at his main home, Punto Cero. It was here his wife and five sons lived in total secret. His own brother, Raul Castro, did not even know his sons existed until he met them when they were grown. At this home a private basketball court and hospital were built. Each family member had their own cow based on their fresh milk preference. Fun Fact: Fresh milk acidity and creaminess varies by cow.
Fidel Castro built his own secret island! After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. While everyday Cubans suffered this is where he relaxed. Castro built a house, Yacht dock, restaurant, armory, helipad and much more on this island.
Fidel Castro’s Yacht
On the island Castro built a 200-foot-long landing stage for his personal yacht. The Aquarama II, decorated entirely in exotic wood imported from Angola, had four engines from Soviet navy patrollers, a gift from Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. At full throttle, they propelled Aquarama II at the phenomenal, unbeatable speed of 42 knots, or about 48 miles an hour.
The Yacht required a half mile long channel be dug for it to dock. Castro told the Cuban people he knew nothing about the concept of vacation. This was nowhere near the truth. He had his own private island getaway where he fished and relaxed. This was one of the best kept secrets in Cuban history. Almost no one outside of his family new about this island.
Castro Impact on the Cigar Industry
There is no question Fidel Castro had a huge impact on the premium cigar industry. The allure of the forbidden fruit Cuban cigars is cemented in pop culture even among people with no interest in cigars. Present day easing of embargo restrictions has brought new interest to premium cigars in general. Many people hope the Cuban embargo will be fully lifted soon allowing the import of Cuban cigars and creating the next big cigar boom.
Castro Impact on the World
Universal health care and education remained the pillars of his revolution, crumbling infrastructure, a stagnant economy and widespread poverty became prevalent in Cuba, forcing the country to rely on outside help including the United States to simply feed its people.
His influence on America continued, as waves of Cubans took to the seas in makeshift boats and rafts to flee his grip, a flight that continues today. That group concentrated mostly in South Florida has steered U.S. policy toward Cuba and has become a deciding factor in local, state and national politics.
Castro until his death continued to antagonize the United States even in the face of the embargo easing. He is also well known for his impact on Latin American countries and support of their dictators. It is said he spawned an entire generation of new brutal dictators.