News on Fidel Castro’s death made wide headlines. Interestingly, a mixed bag of reactions among world leaders were noted where some leaders praised him while others celebrated his death. To qoute words of the newly elected President of the United States of America Donald Trump, who said “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who depressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and denial of fundamental human rights”, describes one side of the story. Another by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who said “Fidel castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century”, clearly reflected the nature of the divided world on Fidel castro.
Such a scenario definetly gets very confusing for civilians like us, where some say that Castro was a celebrated figure and others condemn him as a brutal dictator. Thus, the real question that we should be asking is why do these two contadictory camps on Fidel Castro exist?
Check it out yourself, with the top 10 facts about Fidel Castro that follow:
10. 9 children from 5 women.
Alongside, being the head of the state, Castro was the head of a huge family as well. A lot of Castro’s personal life secrets popped out when one of Fidel’s bodyguard who served him for 17 years launched a book called ” The Double life of Fidel Castro”, where he disclosed all of Fidel’s affairs, cheats, mistresses and children. He claimed that he had a total of 9 children from 5 different Women.(Ladies man, Was he?)
9. A revolutionary.
Fidel was a revolutionary cuban leader who got interested in politics while persuiing law at University Of Havana as an Anti-Imperialist politician. As is the fate of every revolutionist, he too was imprisoned for about 2 years after his failed attempt to overthrow the Batista regime, but that did not discourage him. In Mexico he formed the guerrilla group and then returned to Cuba with a full-fleged force and was finally successful in overthrowing the Batista empire on January 1, 1959, later, emerging as the Fierce Cuban Prime Minister.
8. Fancy love for Cuban Cigars.
Cigars have a cult status and have usually made their way into the pockets of the Elite as their fancy habit. Fidel Castro was also one such Cigar lover, he fancied the Cuban Cohiba (A premium cuban cigar brand). A limited production of cigars was done by this brand, exclusively for Fidel Castro and some high end officials of the Communist party of Cuba and Cuban government. Later, he quit smoking in 1985 for health reasons.
7. Most Influential personality.
Not only was Castro an influential leader of Cuba, but he was also recognised worldwide for his achievments. He made it to the Top 100 most influential people of the World in the Time Magazine’s 2012 edition. He was also garnered with other prestigous awards such as “The International Lenin Prize for strenthening Peace among Peoples”, “Hero of the Soviet Union”, “Order of Lenin”, “Collar of the Order Of Merit”, “Order of Courage”, “Grand Order of the Star of honor of Socialist Ethiopia”, “Dimitrov Star” and various others.
6. Recordholder for the Longest Speech.
Each and every public speech made by Fidel castro was remarkably powerful and created longlasting impact on his audiences. He made history, for one such speech on September 29, 1960 where he became a Guinness Book worldrecord holder for the longest speech(4 hours and 29 minutes) ever delivered at the United nations. Yet, this was not Fidel’s personal high as he had also given a 7 hours long speech in Cuba itself.
5. Third longest ruler of the state.
A tough fight and revolutionary spirit of Fidel made him the Prime Minister of Cuba. He lasted from the year 1976 to 2008 that is more than three decades, outlasting 9 US presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton. Thus, he stands 3rd on the list of longest serving head of the state after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and the King of Thailand.
4. A Dictator.
As is known by all, that Adolf Hitler was the most ruthless dictator the world has ever seen and Fidel Castro’s leadership style were compared with that of Hitler and the cuban public paid its price. Castro was infamous for his policies that included, nationalization of Cuba’s private commerce and industry and institutionalization of land reforms. The term dictator suited him most because he disabled people of their civil rights, shut down independent newspapers , withdrew labour union’s right to stike and even harrased religious institutions and strangled food production. Thus, he impoverished a vast majority of his people.
Thus, The Human Rights Watch accused him and his government for constructing a “Repressive machinery”
3. Sponsored Terrorism.
Under his reign, Cuba became the first communist state in the western hemisphere where communist dictatorship went on to sponsoring terrorism throughout Cuba in allignment with other such dictating leaders. Tons of people diassapeared and around 20% of the cuban population fled and exiled in the wake of widespread terrorism in their motherlands. Some reports also claimed that, Fidel had concentration camps and prisons like that of Hitler and filled them with his own people at an unprecedented rate. Brutal and tortorous killings were all, normal day-to-day business for him.
2. Survived 634 assasination attempts.
Since Castro was radical as a leader and brutal towards his enemies, his enemies also reverted back in the same manner. Cuban history states that Castro was successful in dodging 634 assasination threats from various parts of the world. Some reports also suggest that obscure assasination plans such as infecting his diving suit with a fatal fungal spiecy, poisoning his cigars with Botox, sucide bombings etc were all plotted against him. He also managed to escape attacks from The CIA.(Being Famous, hurts).
1. Ignited Cold War.
Not a lot of people know this but, Castro played a lot of evil games during the Cold War, in order defeat The US. The tiff between US and Cuba was known to the entire world. It all started with Castro overthrowing the American military Imperialist Batista and later nationalizing all United States owned factories, businesses, oil-refineries and Casinos. America reiteriated with Bay of Pigs Invasion and also The Cuban Missile Crisis, but failed in defeating Castro. These attacks by US thus became two of the major attacks in the cold war history. Fidel, then applied all his power and influence in support of the Soviet Union against The United States. America won this time, both the Cold War and consequently World War 2 and rose as the world most powerful nation, which was a huge defeat for Fidel Castro.