Cuban Statesman. Born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, he was the longtime Communist dictator of Cuba for over six decades. He began a law career while engaging in action, sometimes violent, against both the the Cuban government and U.S. intervention in the Caribbean. When General Fulgencio Batista rose to power in a 1952 coup, he led a rebellion to try to oust him. After several years of guerrilla warfare, his rebel group overthrew the Batista regime and he became prime minister of Cuba. He held the post of prime minister from 1959 to 1975 and it was a time of great turmoil between Cuba and the U.S.. During this period, he formed close ties with the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc and the U.S. responded first with a trade embargo against Cuba and then numerous plots to overthow him. In 1962 the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war after the placement of nuclear weapons in Cuba caused a major crisis between the two nations. During the later part of the 1960s, he began to finance and assist various Communist groups around the globe and this continued into the 1970s and 1980s. In 1975 the positions of president and prime minister was combined into one and he assumed the new combined position. While the Cold War came to an end with the break up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, he remained a solid bulwark of Communism through this entire period. He would remain as president of Cuba until health reasons caused him to hand power over to his younger brother Raul in 2008. While his political supporters saw him as a bold revolutionary, his detractors considered him just as dangerous a dictator as the one he overthrew. The group Human Rights Watch assessed his reign as a repressive one, full of human rights abuses.
Bio by: Mr. Badger Hawkeye