Fidel Castro Castro was born into a wealthy farming family in Birán, near Cueto, Holguín Province (formerly Oriente Province) and not far from the birthplace of Fulgencio Batista, the man whose government he was to overthrow. The son of a former colonial soldier Angel Castro y Argiz (and immigrant (after 1898) from Galicia, Spain) and his cook, Lina Ruz González, Castro has two brothers: Ramón, who has a position in the agriculture department and is said to run the family estates; and half-brother RaÃºl, the Cuban defense minister.Castro also has at least one other sibling, his sister Juanita, who lives in the United States. In summary his family situation was complex; his siblings include Ramón, Lidia, Pedro Emilio, Angela, RaÃºl, Juana, Emma, and Agustina .
As for aspirations of his future career, according to Georgie Anne Geyer (1991), one of Castro's first and most quoted biographers, the dominating factor in Castro's life is hatred for the United States, a claim confirmed by his first wife and others (Raffy, 2003). His antipathy toward America can be traced in significant part to his childhood. Castro is the illegitimate child of Angel Castro (1875-1956), an illiterate Spaniard from Galicia, Spain, who went to Cuba as a private with the Spanish army to fight against the United States. He was the paid substitute for the son of a wealthy Spaniard. The elder Castro fought in that âsplendid little warâ against the Cuban George Washington, JosÃ© Martí, in the eastern-most province of Santiago (where Martí died and three years later Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders also fought); Castro studiously avoids talking about his father's participation in the war against Cuba's founding fathers (Fuentes, 2004).
Castro was educated at Jesuit and La Salle Christian Brothers Schools ) private schools in Santiago de Cuba and the Colegio de BelÃ©n in Havana, graduating in 1945. He would later expel the faculty from Cuba, like many other priests and religious figures, and have the schools property nationalized. After high school, Castro enrolled at the University of Havana to study law. Here he joined the Union Insurreccional Revolucionaria (UIR, the Insurrectional Revolutionary Union) an action group led by Emilio Tro ,, , , and became involved in political disputes that were often violent and sometimes murderous.
One of Castro's most prized possessions was a 12-volume set of Mussolini's speeches and writings (Pardo Llada, 1976). By the time he and his guerrillas emerged from the mountains of eastern Cuba in 1959, he had perfected Mussolini's rhetorical gestures, plagiarized some of his phrases, (e.g., âAll within the revolution, nothing outside the revolution, nothing against the revolution,â uttered during Castro's trials to censor Cuban writers, artists, and poets), and his use of grand symbols and theater (e.g., the white doves sitting on his shoulders during a widely photographed 1959 speech). Hitler created a power base out of the alienated German lower classes and Castro played to the farmers and the workers; while imposing social controls, he asked âElecciones, para quÃ©?â or âElections, for what?â (Raffy, 2003; Szulc, 1986; Coltman, 2003).
After assuming power, his indifference to ordinary rules of adult behavior is seen in the fact that, although he promised to be a good father for his own son Fidelito, he was soon divorced and proceeded to have at least eight other children with several women out of wedlock (Raffy, 2003; Fuentes, 2004).
Early political activity
In 1947 he joined the Partido Ortodoxo (Orthodox Party, also known as the Partido del Pueblo Cubano, Party of the Cuban People) and its campaign to expose government corruption and demand reform. In the summer of 1947, Castro, along with Rolando Masferrer, became part of the Caribbean legion that attempted to travel to the Dominican Republic and overthrow its government . The attempt failed, however, when the Cuban police intervened. Fidel and a few other escaped by rafting and swimming two miles before reaching land. Because of this and his other activities, Castro became known through local radio and the Alerta newspaper.
In 1948, Castro, already credited with a number of killings in Cuba (Geyer, 2002; Ros, 2003; U.S. State Department 1950-1954), traveled to Bogotá in Colombia as a delegate of the Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU, the Cuban University Student Federation) for the ninth Pan-American Union Conference. Some funding for Castro on this trip is understood to have been provided by Juan Peron. During his visit, however, the Colombian Liberal Party leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitán was assassinated. Castro, who according to the Scotland Yard investigation and other sources had set up an appointment with Gaitán at a time immediately before the Colombian leader was killed, and participated in the violence the Bogotazo that followed the assassination (Angel Aparicio Lourencio, 1975). Castro who was and still is suspected of collaborating with the Colombian Communist Party in this killing, had to flee the country. These claims are controversial, most notably because Fidel was an admirer of Gaitán; however, some maintain that Castro is also known to express admiration of those e.g. Camilo Cienfuegos he is believed to have ordered killed. The plane with which Castro made his escape was provided by the Cuban president, Carlos Prío Socarrás, even though Castro opposed Prío.
Putative early contacts with influential people
During his early days Fidel Castro can be said to have been linked to a number of influential and powerful people. These contacts include Fulgencio Batista who was definitely close to his family.
The mysterious William Wieland (aka (Guillermo) Montenegro, Wilheim Wieland) protÃ©gÃ© of Sumner Welles from the time of Fulgencio Batista's first rise to power in 1933. Wieland was present (US consul) during the Bogotazo while it is said by some to be in contact with Castro. Wieland was a highly influential U.S. State Department Official, variously and conflictingly described as a Communist , and as a CIA agent who appears to have aided Castro during the U.S. Arms Embargo Against Batista (1958). Wieland was an active naysayer during the weak planning and execrable execution of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, and later was subject to various U.S Government investigations (Holland, 2000). While historians have not yet reached consensus; Wieland is commonly considered to have a left of center record in Latin American matters . and quite definitely linked to the influential bisexual underground groups (Bancroft 1983 pp. 132-133) within the US State Department (Paz 2001 pp. 269,270; Welles, 1997). Some sources (citing 245:6572 "State Department Security: The Case of William Wieland", 1962; 245:6573 State Department Security: Testimony of William Wieland", 1962; 245:6574 "State Department Security - 1963-65: The Wieland Case Updated", 1963-1965 ) report that in the 1930s William Wieland, known in Cuba as Arturo Montenegro, was intimate with Sumner Welles and his successor, Jefferson Caffery, thus promoting his successful career .
Prior to his 1956 landing Castro was said to be in contact with KGB agent Nikolai Sergeevich Leonov in Mexico City (see below). Other putative contacts include Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. Castro received money and weapons from Carlos Prío Socarrás whether this included CIA support is not clear.
That same year, 1948, Castro married Mirta Díaz Balart, a philosophy student from another wealthy Cuban family, with whom he later had a son, Fidelito Castro. It is said that Castro fled out of the back door of the church of the Virgin of Charity because some of his enemies were waiting for him . Amongst the wedding presents received was a substantial gift (US$500 others say U.S. $1000) from Batista, who by then was both a retired President and dictator with the rank of former general in the Cuban army.
In 1950 Castro graduated and began practising law in a small partnership, mostly representing the poor. He had by now become known for his nationalist views and his opposition to the United States' influence in Cuba. In 1951, after the Partido Ortodoxo's founder Eduardo Chibás committed suicide, Castro unsuccessfully claimed leadership of the party and prepared to stand for parliament the following year. However, a coup d'Ã©tat led by Batista on March 10, 1952 overthrew Socarrás' government and the elections were canceled. Castro broke away from the Partido Ortodoxo and, in court, charged Batista with violating the Cuban constitution. His petition was refused.
Attack on Moncada Barracks
Castro responded to Batista's coup by organizing an armed attack on the Moncada Barracks, Batista's largest garrison outside Santiago de Cuba, on July 26, 1953. The CÃ©spedes garrison in Bayamo was also attacked under the leadership of Antonio "Ãico" Lopez. These attacks proved unsuccessful and more than sixty of the one-hundred and thirty-five militants involved were killed.
Castro and other surviving members of his group managed to escape to the part of the Sierra Maestra east of Santiago. Castro and his company were captured after a patrol discovered them while they were sleeping. Although the official attitude of the military was to capture Fidel alive, the real orders were that the leader of the rebellion, Fidel Castro, was to be executed once found. However, some say by a strange coincidence, none of the soldiers recognized Fidel, except one person, the lieutenant who led the patrol that captured Fidel. This lieutenant had been at the University of Havana at the same time Fidel was a student there. While he was searching Fidel for weapons, he whispered in Fidel's ear not to reveal his name, or he would be shot. .
However, most credit the offices of MonseÃ±or PÃ©rez Serantes