How Castro carved out Cuba's future

Updated - November 17, 2021 10:49 am IST

Published - November 26, 2016 12:19 pm IST

Fidel Castro during a tour of Paris. File Photo: Reuters

Fidel Castro during a tour of Paris. File Photo: Reuters

Here is a record of Cuban leader Fidel Castro's life and the the key events in his period:

BIRTH : Officially listed as August 13, 1926, in Cuba’s Oriente province. But some say he was born a year later.

TITLES : Former president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and the commander-in-chief of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces. Before resigning on February 19, 2008, he was the world’s longest-ruling head of government, and leader of one of world’s last five Communist states. Had been off public stage for a year-and-a-half after provisionally ceding power to his brother Raul after emergency intestinal surgery.

EDUCATION: Attended Roman Catholic schools and University of Havana, where he earned law and social science degrees.

FAMILY : Married Mirta Diaz-Balart in 1948 and his son, Fidel Felix Castro Diaz-Balart, was born in 1949. Divorced in 1955. Although Castro never confirmed remarrying, he reportedly wed former schoolteacher Dalia Soto del Valle and had five sons. He reportedly had several other children out of wedlock.

July 26, 1953: Launched his revolutionary fight by attacking the military barracks in the eastern city of Santiago. Was arrested, but later freed under an amnesty deal. Travelled to Mexico to form a rebel army, and returned to Cuba with followers aboard small yacht. Most were killed or captured, but Castro and a small group escaped into eastern mountain strongholds

Jan. 1, 1959: Castro’s rebels take power as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba.

June 1960 : Cuba nationalises U.S.-owned oil refineries after they refuse to process Soviet oil. Nearly all other U.S. businesses expropriated by October.

October 1960 : Washington bans exports to Cuba, other than food and medicine.

April 16, 1961: Castro declares Cuba socialist state.

April 17, 1961: Bay of Pigs: CIA-backed Cuban exiles stage a failed invasion.

Feb, 7, 1962 : Washington bans all Cuban imports.

October 1962 : U.S. blockade forces removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba. U.S. President John F. Kennedy agrees privately not to invade Cuba.

March 1968 : Castro’s government takes over almost all private businesses.

April 1980 : Mariel boatlift: Cuba says anyone can leave; some 125,000 Cubans flee.

December 1991 : Collapse of Soviet Union devastates the Cuban economy.

August 1994: Castro declares he will not stop Cubans trying to leave; some 40,000 take to sea heading for the U.S.

March 18, 2003 : 75 Cuban dissidents sentenced to prison.

July 31, 2006: Castro announces has had operation, temporarily cedes power to brother Raul.

Feb. 19, 2008: Castro resigns as President.

July 2010: Castro re-emerges after years in seclusion, visiting a scientific institute, giving a TV interview, talking to academics and even taking in a dolphin show at the aquarium.

April 19, 2011 : Castro is replaced by his brother Raul as first secretary of the Communist Party, the last official post he held. The elder Castro made a brief appearance at the Congress, looking frail as a young aide guided him to his seat.

April 19, 2016: Castro delivers a valedictory speech at the Communist Party’s seventh Congress, declaring that “soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain.”

November 25, 2016 : Castro dies

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