Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Fidel Castro led an overthrow of the Cuban government then led under the military dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista, in 1959. After assuming power, Fidel Castro went on to create the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere and ruled the small country for just shy of fifty years. Although Castro did a lot for the country, he did some things that were not so good.
Fidel Castro ended racism in Cuba, brought electricity to the countryside, and built new schools and medical facilities. However, with the good, must come some bad. Fidel Castro shut down oppositional newspapers, jailed political opponents, nationalized all businesses, meaning no one could own a private business on the island. The Communist leader also limited the amount of land that private citizens could own, and controlled the housing and consumer goods shortage.
In 1961, The United States tried to overthrow Fidel Castro. The CIA trained more than 1400 Cuban national exiles in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Most of the exiles were taken prisoner while others were killed. Castro agreed to release the prisoners if the United States sent them more than 52 million dollars in medical supplies and baby food.
Then in 1962, the Soviet Union under the rule of Nikita Khrushchev, sent nuclear missiles to Cuba and they were aimed at Florida, just 90 miles away. There was a fear of World War III starting, but after a 13 day standoff, Khrushchev agreed to take the missiles from Cuba if the United States publicly admitted they would no longer try to overthrow the Cuban government and privately negotiated with the United States to get nuclear missiles out of Turkey. This all happened much to the chagrin of Fidel Castro as he was included in the negotiations.
In 2006, Fidel Castro gave his brother, Raul some control of the Cuban government and then relinquished full control to his brother in 2008 when Fidel Castro fully resigned from power due to health reasons. Castro had some intestinal surgery in 2006 when he relinquished part control to his brother.