MEN DO NOT SHAPE DESTINY; DESTINY PRODUCES THE MAN FOR THE HOUR.LOD report on: Leadership of Fidel Castro Submitted by Group-1 Gitanshu Soni Vedium Vasanth Kumar Ravi Kiran Mukundhan Subramani JVD Prasad
1. INTRODUCTIONCuban dictator Fidel Castro was born near Biran on August 13, 1926. In 1959, he usedguerilla warfare to successfully overthrow Cuban leader Batista, and was sworn in as primeminister of Cuba. As prime minister, Castros government established covert military andeconomic relations with the Soviet Union, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. He served asprime minister until 1976, when he became president of Cuba and remained till 2008.Politically a Marxist-Leninist, under his administration the Republic of Cuba became a one-party socialist state; industry and businesses were nationalized, and socialist reformsimplemented in all areas of society.2. EARLY LIFEIn his college days he participated in many armed rebellions against right-wing governmentsin the Dominican Republic and Colombia. He served a years imprisonment in 1953, afterleading a failed armed attack on the Moncada Barracks against Cuban dictator-presidentFulgencio Batista. This incident fostered an ongoing opposition to the government and madeCastro famous throughout Cuba.Castro was released in 1955 under an amnesty deal with the Batista government. He went toMexico, where he met Ernesto "Che" Guevara and devised a new strategy to overthrow theBatista regime based on guerrilla warfare. Guevara believed that the plight of Latin Americaspoor could be rectified only through violent revolution. He joined Castros group and becamean important confidante, shaping Castros political beliefs.On December 2, 1956, Castro returned to Cuba with a boatload of 81 insurgents near theeastern city of Manzanillo, where Batistas forces killed or captured most of the attackers.Castro, his brother Raul and Guevara were able to escape into the Sierra Maestra mountainrange. Over the course of the next two years, again Castros forces waged a guerrilla waragainst the Batista government, organizing resistance groups in cities and small towns acrossCuba. He ran a parallel government, carry out some agrarian reform, and control provinceswith agricultural and manufacturing production.Beginning in 1958, Castro and his forces mounted a series of successful military campaignsthroughout Cuba to hold key areas of the country. Along with the loss of popular support andmassive desertions in the military, Batistas government collapsed due to Castros efforts. In
January of 1959, Batista fled to the Dominican Republic. At the age of 32, Castrosuccessfully concluded a classic guerrilla campaign to take control of Cuba.In February 1959, the then Prime Minister Jose Miro Cardona suddenly resigned, and Castrowas sworn in as prime minister. The charismatic young Castro nationalized banks andindustries, collectivized agriculture, seized more than $1 billion in U.S. assets, jailed hisrivals and critics, embraced communism, made new friends in Moscow, and captured theworlds attention. In 1960, alarmed by the emergence of a Communist state and potentialSoviet satellite 90 miles from Florida, the United States imposed a trade embargo. In 1961, itcut formal diplomatic relations and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion further burnished Castroscredentials as a strongman and implacable U.S. foe.Since then, the U.S. government has worked to undermine Castros regime by squeezingCubas economy. For four and a half decades, many U.S. lawmakers have argued thatCastros refusal to respect fundamental civil liberties compels Washington to destabilize hisgovernment on moral grounds. In the process, Castro has created a remarkably durable cult ofpersonality.3. CASTRO AS LEADER: LEARNINGS3.1. WHAT TO DOCharismatic LeaderFidel Castro was a charismatic leader. He possessed a larger than life personality. He wasregarded by large segments of the population as the heaven-sent saviour of the nation.One striking aspect of the Cuban Revolution is the thoroughness and frequency with whichthe voice and visage of Fidel Castro have blanketed the island.SOCIALIST: For his peopleCastro created "The New Mans Theory” which means work to benefit everyone in thesociety.He wanted to restore Cubas wealth, get back the land Cuba lost, and strengthen the nationsidentity. For this he did the following.
• Implemented almost impossible reforms to nationalize factories and plantations. • Wanted to makes his armies stronger for Cubas defense; created an alliance with the USSR during 1960. • Intended to build a socialist state with a state owned, government planning economy. • Stopped private profit business so that all of Cuba had equal job opportunities & boost economy. • According to constitution, all Cubans were entitled to receive free medical, hospital, & dental care. • All citizens had same rights regardless of who they were. • Provided payment for elders and pregnant women workers. • Right to free education to highest university level.Attracting & Winning support of People:He was a well read person and an incredible lawyer. He used his knowledge of Law to hisadvantage to convince people to his side and win arguments.Even if people didn’t agree with his ideology, the peasant, who largely made up his support,were swayed by the idea of improving their lives and of gaining land for themselves.However, as Castro based nationalist and populist issues known, the middle class started toside with Castro as well.One of his well known speeches was made as a self-defense in court after the Moncada attackwhere he said, “But I do not fear prison, as I do not fear the fury of the miserable tyrant whotook the lives of 70 of my comrades. Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolveme.”Because the leader is seen as acting in concert with larger historical forces not always visibleto more ordinary men, he alone retains the right to determine "correct" behaviour in theservice of the Revolution.Fighting odds with tact:Castro was known for rejecting all criticism with a ferocious temper and his narcissisticbehaviour and unyielding desire for power is most likely what led to his declaration of Cubaas a socialist state, eliminating voting rights, and the banning of outside information that
could question his authority. This could possibly have been the beginning of his completecorruption of power.He over threw Batista by depriving him of allies and forced him to flee, resign, or killed. Heeventually fled.He tackled US with help of Soviet Union. Denounced American imperialism & establisheddiplomatic ties (for economic and military aid) with Soviet Union. US made continuousattempts to bring him down. He survived nine U.S. presidents, the collapse of his Sovietbenefactor, and four decades of American attempts to undermine his government.He used executions and imprisonments, and forced emigration against Anti Castro Rulesupporters, pro-democracy activists and independent journalists. It is known that he providedthe option to dissenters to leave Cuba via a port open for them. His elimination includedcensorship of media.He countered Varela Project with tact. To negate the effect of bill passed to strip him of hisleadership he made 99 percent of Cuban population sign a bill saying they want Castro’sleadership. Castro jailed many of the groups members. Since then, Castro has moved to againtighten central planning of the Cuban economy and to limit Cubans access to U.S. dollarsand the Internet.3.2. WHAT NOT TO DOImportance of Necessary Skills:Though a popular socialist and communist, Castro was a failed economist. We know thatleadership style should depend on the situation too. He was very effective during the struggleagainst the Batista Government but one can just question his leadership once he came topower. Should he have vacated his seat to another person who had the skills to steer theCuban economy at critical times, is a question to ask. He tried to promote his ideologies inthe fore front. He believed socialism is the cure to all human problems, economic as well.This policy hindered lot of economic development that could have taken place in the country.Thus, a leadership style should be according to the situation.
Obsession with Power:Fidel was obsessed with power from a young age, wanting to be in the political and militaryarena, only because he could then lead, for the sake of leading. He believed that fighting thebattle was more important to him than the battle itself.A classic example of his obsession with power can be seen when he collapsed on stage in aspeech in 2001 and during operation, he allowed doctors to anesthetize him only from waistdown. He had never relinquished his authority. This reveals his stubborn determination tohold off the inevitable hand-over of power. He came back and persuaded Cuban people (andpotential rivals at home and abroad) that he remained fully in command. He feared that ifCuba were ruled by someone else—even for a few hours—his revolution might bechallenged.This had worked against him. A leader needs to leave gracefully. He was no longercompetitive and he should have vacated office for someone else who was better equipped tofight challenges of Cuban economy.Referenceshttp://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/98822/Fidel-Castrohttp://www.autentico.org/oa09358.phphttp://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/COLDcastroF.htmhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2008/02/20/us-cuba-castro-chronology-idUSN1922589220080220http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/recycled/2008/02/adios_comandante.html