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FIdel Castro for IB 20th Century History

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  1. 1. David Rollick and Reggie Curry
  2. 2. <ul><li>Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926. </li></ul><ul><li>A Cuban revolutionary leader who was prime minister of Cuba from February 1959 to December 1976 and then premier until his resignation from the office in February 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro began his political life with nationalist critiques of Fulgencio Batista, and of United States political and corporate influence in Cuba. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>In late 1945, Castro entered law school at the University of Havana and became immediately embroiled in the political culture at the University. </li></ul><ul><li>Since the fall of president Gerardo Machado in the 1930s, student politics had degenerated into a form dominated by fractious action groups. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1947, growing increasingly passionate about social justice, Castro joined the Partido Ortodoxo which had been newly formed by Eduardo Chibás. </li></ul><ul><li>The Partido Ortodoxo publicly exposed corruption and demanded government and social reform. It aimed to instill a strong sense of national identity among Cubans, establish Cuban economic independence and freedom from the United States, and dismantle the power of the elite over Cuban politics. </li></ul><ul><li>Though Chibás lost the election, Castro, considering Chibás his mentor, remained committed to his cause, working fervently on his behalf. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Castro returned to Cuba and married Mirta Díaz Balart, a student from a wealthy Cuban family. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1950 he graduated from law school with a Doctor of Laws degree and began practicing law in a small partnership in Havana. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly interested in a career in politics, Castro had become a candidate for a seat in the Cuban parliament in the 1952 elections when former president, General Fulgencio Batista, took over in a coup d'état, cancelled the elections and assumed government. </li></ul><ul><li>Batista was supported by establishment elements of Cuban society and powerful Cuban agencies. His government was formally recognized by the United States, buttressing his power. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro wanted to formally charge Batista with violating the constitution. His petition, entitled Zarpazo , was denied by the Court of Constitutional Guarantees and he was not allowed a hearing. </li></ul><ul><li>This experience formed the foundation for Castro's opposition to the Batista government and convinced him that revolution was the only way to depose Batista. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Castro gained an ardent, but limited, following and also drew the attention of the authorities. </li></ul><ul><li>He eventually led the failed 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks, after which he was captured, tried, incarcerated and later released. </li></ul><ul><li>Upon release, Castro traveled to Mexico to organize and train for the invasion of Cuba that took place in December 1956. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro came to power as a result of the Cuban revolution that overthrew Fulgencio Batista, and shortly thereafter became Prime Minister of Cuba. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>On May 17, 1959, Castro signed into law the First Agrarian Reform, which limited landholdings to 993 acres per owner and forbade foreign land ownership. </li></ul><ul><li>In February 1960, Cuba signed an agreement to buy oil from the USSR. When the U.S.-owned refineries in Cuba refused to process the oil, they were expropriated, and the United States broke off diplomatic relations with the Castro government soon afterward. </li></ul><ul><li>A variety of pacts were signed between Castro and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, allowing Cuba to receive large amounts of economic and military aid from the USSR. </li></ul><ul><li>The Castro government grabbed control of the nation by nationalizing industry, expropriating property owned by Cubans and non-Cubans alike, collectivizing agriculture, and enacting policies which Castro claimed would benefit the economically dispossessed. </li></ul><ul><li>While popular among the poor, these policies alienated many former supporters of the revolution among the Cuban middle and upper-classes. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>The U.S. decided to overthrow Cuba’s government on October of 1959. </li></ul><ul><li>On April 17, 1400 members of a CIA-trained Cuban exile force successfully lands at the Bay of Pigs while the U.S. denied any involvement. </li></ul><ul><li>The CIA members anticipated the Cubans to welcome a U.S.-sponsored invasion during the rise against the Castro regime. This forced both the Cuban military and police to not oppose the CIA. </li></ul><ul><li>President Kennedy ordered for the cancellation of several bombing plans that would otherwise cripple the Cuban Air Force. The Cubans responded with aggression, killing most of the invaders and capturing around a thousand of them. </li></ul><ul><li>On December 2, 1961, Castro declares himself to be Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba has adopted Communism. In turn, the U.S. begins to impose an embargo against Cuba, which became more strict between 1962 and 1963. </li></ul><ul><li>Before the invasion took place, the Cuban government gathered tens of thousands of people who may have been suspected of opposing the government, detaining them from being a part of the Cuban exile forces. Never was there a Cuban uprising against Castro afterwards. </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Perhaps one of the most dangerous moments during history was the tension that rose between the U.S. and Cuba during the year of 1962. This crisis also nearly caused the nuclear conflict between the U.S. and Russia. </li></ul><ul><li>It was thanks to Khrushchev that the missiles were planted in Cuba as a possible way to prevent the U.S. from invading. </li></ul><ul><li>Khrushchev later heads into Cuba and discusses specifics with a Cuban delegation. An agreement was made, allowing the deployment of Soviet R-12 MRBMs in Cuba. However, American U-2 spy plane managed to discover the construction of the missile installations on Oct. 15 of that year before they even had the chance to be deployed, which was taken as an act of aggression and a threat toward U.S. security. </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. responds by putting a quarantine around Cuba, allowing any interception and search of any vessel that heads toward the island. </li></ul><ul><li>Oct. 27: Castro sends a personal letter to Khrushchev, urging him to launch the first nuclear strike on the U.S., but he rejects the idea. </li></ul><ul><li>Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles in exchange for a US commitment not to invade Cuba and an understanding that the US would secretly remove American MRBMs targeting the Soviet Union from Turkey and Italy. </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Former Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Aznar, wrote that Castro considered the embargo to be his greatest ally, and that without it, he would lose presidency in the next 3 months. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro still controlled Cuba after bankruptcy occurred, as well as isolation, during the Soviet Union’ fall during the year of 1991. </li></ul><ul><li>Economically speaking, contraction of Cuba’s economy reached 85%, resulting in the lost of most of its markets, including its subsidies and trade agreements. Extended gas and water outages, severe power shortages, and the decrease of food supplies was abound. </li></ul><ul><li>Later, Castro shut down a total of 118 factories, which included steel plants, sugar mills and paper processors as a way to compensate for the crisis from fuel shortages. A year later, he directs thousands of Cuban doctors to Venezuela for oil exports. </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>In May 1961 Castro canceled promised elections and declared the Constitution of 1940 outdated. In December he announced that Cuba would become a socialist nation. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro called for the development of a new type of citizen who would regard work as a commitment to social change. </li></ul><ul><li>Income and benefits, such as education and medical services, were to be evenly distributed. </li></ul><ul><li>Under the new political structure, government agencies represented people, and political parties were dissolved. </li></ul><ul><li>The state controlled the press, and neighborhood watch groups checked for ideological purity. People advanced at work and in government according to their loyalty to Castro. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>In 1965 Castro focused the economy again on agricultural production and the export of a few primary products. </li></ul><ul><li>The focus on sugar production took on monumental proportions in 1969 and 1970, when Castro announced the goal of a 10-million ton sugar harvest. </li></ul><ul><li>This failure cost Cuba’s ally, the Soviet Union billions of dollars in financial aid. After 1970 the Soviets required Cuba to develop five-year and ten-year economic plans and to introduce a professional bureaucracy. </li></ul><ul><li>The influx of Soviet financial aid helped the Cuba economy to recover during the 1970s, but it also made Cuba economically dependent on the USSR. </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>He deviated from the centrally controlled Soviet model by allowing some democratic participation in government through the Popular People’s Power movement inaugurated in 1976. </li></ul><ul><li>This movement allowed voters to elect candidates approved by the Communist Party to serve in local government posts. </li></ul><ul><li>These local party members in turn elected representatives to provincial and national assemblies, which would supervise government activities at the regional and national levels. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1976, the newly elected National Assembly of People’s Power created the president of the State Council, which combined the functions of head of government, head of state, and commander of the armed forces. The assembly elected Castro to fill the post. </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>After establishing diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union and the missile crisis, the Soviet’s market, military and economic aid was becoming increasingly important for Cuba. With their help, Castro manages to build a strong military force. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro also tightened the Communist Party on all levels of the government, which included the media, and the educational system, while managing to develop a Soviet-style internal police force. </li></ul><ul><li>Mikhail Gorbachev heads into Cuba in 1989, and caused a strained relationship between Havana and Moscow due to his implementations of economic and political forms in the USSR. </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>Nov. 4, 1975: Castro sends Cuban troops to Angola to aid Marxist MPLA-ruled government against UNITA. Moscow aided them, as well as the USSR’s massive airlifts. </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba and Panama restore diplomatic ties with one another in 2005 after the issue where four Cuban exiles were accused for attempted murder of Fidel Castro in the year 2000. Panama’s former president pardoned them. </li></ul><ul><li>At a meeting of 16 Caribbean countries in 1998, Castro declares that there should be regional unity, and that the only way that their domination by rich nations would not be realized is by increased strength of cooperation between Caribbean countries. The U.S. was accused of breaking trade promises at the time. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased grants and scholarships toward Caribbean countries appeared due to Castro’s support. Four embassies opened, which were: the Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Suriname, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Canada was the first of the U.S. to openly trade with Cuba. </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>The EU (European Union) had praised Cuba for their willingness for discussing questions about human rights. In addition, Cuba is the only Latin country who was without economic cooperation agreement with the EU. </li></ul><ul><li>Luckily, trading with European countries caused the embargo from the U.S. to leave the market free from American rivalry. In 2005, Louis Michel, the Development Commissioner of the EU, ended his visit in Cuba, having optimistic view that the relations with the Communist state would become stronger at some point in the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the imprisonment of 75 dissents, as well as the execution of three hijackers straining diplomatic relations, Michel became impressed with Castro’s willingness to discuss such concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>The country itself did not admit to be holding political prisoners, but rather it saw them as mercenaries. </li></ul>