Fidel Castro

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Fidel Castro (2003)

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz [ Fidel kastɾo rus ( audio )Speaker Icon.svg ] (* 13. August 1926 / 1927 in Biran in Mayari , Oriente Province ; †  25. November 2016 in Havana ) was a Cuban revolutionary and politician . He was head of government and president of Cuba and first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba .

With the July 26th Movement (M-26-7), Castro was the driving force behind the Cuban Revolution , which led to the overthrow of the dictator Fulgencio Batista at the end of 1958 .

As head of state and government in Cuba, he shaped the development of his country for 49 years. Politically, Castro's role was internationally controversial. Hated and feared by some because of the implementation of a one-party system as a communist dictator and person responsible for various human rights violations , and admired and admired by others as a revolutionary and liberator of Cuba.

Castro's struggle against widespread poverty and illiteracy in the country, such as the introduction of a free school education and basic medical care system for all, are highlighted as domestic, social and cultural-political achievements .

In terms of foreign policy, Castro, as the protagonist of an anti-imperialist worldview on a Marxist basis - also militarily - supported various anti-colonial and national liberation movements of the so-called Third World in the struggle for independence against the ruling colonial powers .

Since the United States embargo against Cuba , which began in 1960 , Castro had to rely on economic support from the Soviet Union . With the stationing of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba in 1962 and the triggering of the Cuban Missile Crisis , Castro also came into the focus of the Cold War bloc confrontation . Nevertheless, despite his ties to the USSR, he tried to overcome this confrontation. Cuba joined the Non-Aligned Movement under his government . Fidel Castro himself was Chairman of the Non-Aligned States from 1979 to 1983 and from 2006 to 2008 .


Youth and family

Fidel Castro was born on August 13, 1926 or 1927. He was an illegitimate child of the sugarcane plantation owner Ángel Castro Argiz and whose house cook Lina Ruz Gonzalez. His father was a Spanish immigrant from the Galician village of San Pedro de Láncara, who came to Cuba as a soldier in the Spanish colonial army. Castro's mother was the daughter of a farmer from the Cuban province of Pinar del Río who was employed by Castro's father. The first name Fidel goes back to a friend of Castro's father, Fidel Pino Santos. In addition to the brothers Raúl and Ramón (1924-2016), Castro also has the sisters Ángela María ("Angelita"), Enma, Juana ("Juanita") and Agustina as well as two half-siblings from his father's first marriage (Pedro Emilio and Lidia Castro Argota ) and at least one other half-brother from an extramarital relationship of his father.

The first official document is a baptism certificate from 1935 in the name of "Fidel Hipólito Ruz González". He has both his mother's surnames there, as he is being expelled as an illegitimate child. After his father's divorce in 1941, he had a new baptism certificate issued for Fidel; it was now in the name of "Fidel Ángel Castro Ruz"; the date of birth is said to have been postponed to August 13, 1926 against bribery, so that Fidel could attend the Jesuit college in Havana, for which he was actually still too young. The last baptismal certificate was then issued in December 1943 after his father's marriage to mother Lina in the final name "Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz".

Castro on May 1, 2005

Castro was raised Catholic by his mother . Despite the wealth of the family (father Ángel had set up a hotel, a telegraph station, a butcher's and a bakery, several craft shops and a small school), he often came into contact with the poor rural population. He only visited a small village school in Mayarí, later he came to the Marians led Colegio La Salle in Santiago de Cuba. He lived with the family of the Haitian consul Luis Hibbert, a business partner of the father. As an illegitimate and (initially) not baptized child, Fidel was often teased by his classmates. The baptism took place in January 1935 in the name of Fidel Hipólito Ruz González . The middle name Hipólito comes from his godfather , Luis (Hipólito Alcides) Hibbert. His father's surname did not appear in the baptism certificate, as he only formally recognized his children with Lina Ruz after the divorce from his first wife and his subsequent marriage to Lina in April 1943. In 1943, Fidel was given its final name, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz . From Colegio La Salle he moved to the Jesuit school Colegio Dolores in Santiago and later to the Colegio Belén in Havana, which was also run by Jesuits . His siblings were also educated in Catholic schools.

In contrast to the strong Catholic family tradition, Castro turned increasingly against the Church after his rise to the position of head of government, whose influence on Cuban society he pushed back in a variety of ways. In 1960–1961, the revolutionary government gradually turned to communism: Castro finally completely rejected the religion, analogous to the Marxist-Leninist ideology he now openly defended, and had its representatives and followers persecuted and marginalized, and most of church property was nationalized . Contrary to reports that have been repeated since 1962, Castro was never explicitly excommunicated : that of Pope Pius XII. 1949 in a decree decreed automatic church exclusion for declared communists was by Pope John XXIII. not completed. Castro called himself an atheist , but occasionally referred to the Bible and Christianity . A senior member of the government characterized him as follows: "Fidel is the first revolutionary, the second Jesuit and only then a Marxist." In 1996, Castro received a highly regarded private audience with Pope John Paul II , whom he received in 1998 on an official visit to Cuba. On the occasion of a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. During his visit to Cuba in March 2012, he announced that he had been of the opinion since the 1960s that Marxists and the church should work together. Later he saw himself increasingly as a globalization critic and spokesman for the interests of the Third World .

His eldest son Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart (1949-2018), called Fidelito - Little Fidel , who came from his marriage to his first wife Mirta Díaz-Balart Gutiérrez, had a doctorate in nuclear physics and held various public functions in science. After his release from prison in 1955, Fidel had three children with three women: The result of the liaison with Natalia "Naty" Revuelta is the illegitimate daughter Alina Fernández Revuelta (* 1956), who fled to the United States via Spain in 1993 and is one of the sharpest critics her father applies. Son Jorge Ángel (* 1956) comes from a relationship with María Laborde. With Micaela Cardoso he fathered daughter Francisca "Panchita" Pupo, who was also born in 1956. The first marriage ended in divorce in 1955 because of Castro's infidelity. The second marriage to Dalia Soto del Valle Jorge resulted in five sons, of which Antonio Castro Soto del Valle is the long-time vice president of the Cuban baseball association and third vice president of the baseball world association in public.

Studies and first political activity

Castro was already interested in sports, especially baseball, during his school days . Contrary to a long-held legend, however, he never received an offer for an American professional contract. However, he played baseball for his university and had a lifelong interest in baseball. In 1945 he began to study law at the University of Havana , where he attracted attention for his political commitment. Castro belonged to a group of students who were known as Los muchachos de gatillo alegre ( something like : boys who are happy at the trigger ). He became a delegate of the Association of Law Students, founded a student committee against racial discrimination and in 1947 joined the Orthodox Party of Eduardo Chibás , which stood up against the corrupt government of Carlos Prío and for an economic policy based on national interests.

In his first militant action in 1947, he took part in an attempt by the Caribbean Legion to overthrow the dictator of the Dominican Republic , Rafael Trujillo , with 3,000 men . The project failed when the expedition ships were intercepted by Cuban warships. In 1948 he married Mirta Díaz-Balart, sister of his boyfriend at the time, Rafael Díaz-Balart , a philosophy student from an equally wealthy Cuban family; even the future dictator Batista sent a wedding present. In 1949 his first son, Fidelito, was born. The marriage was divorced again in 1955 at Castro's request. During the Cuban Revolution , the guerrillas Celia Sánchez (1920–1980) became his partner.

In 1950, Castro obtained a doctorate in law in civil law and a licentiate in diplomatic law . He opened a law firm in Havana, which he ran until 1953. However, he was neither happy nor successful in the profession. His main interest was politics: In June 1952 he wanted to run with the Orthodox Party in the parliamentary elections. The March 10 coup led by General Fulgencio Batista led to the ousting of Carlos Prío's government, but thwarted Castro's plans as the elections were canceled. He sued Batista for violating the constitution, but the court dismissed his complaint. Castro later published an article in Son Los Mismos (a small student underground newspaper , later known as El Acusador ) condemning the Batista military coup.

Attack on the Moncada barracks

After his arrest in July 1953

After Batista's failed indictment before the Supreme Court, Castro declared that after all legal means had been exhausted, the right of resistance contained in the 1940 constitution had come into force. So he began preparations for an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba and the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes barracks in Bayamo . This was intended to trigger a popular uprising in eastern Cuba to overthrow the Batista regime.

On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro gathered around 160 comrades-in-arms to storm the barracks. 40 men were destined for the barracks in Bayamo, the remaining 120, including Fidel and two women, were to take care of the Moncada barracks with a crew of more than 1,500. Shortly before the planned action, five students refused their use out of fear, so that Fidel's group only numbered 115 people. He expected the troops to be tired because of the carnival celebrations . The attempt failed because it was poorly prepared and carried out. Eight attackers and 13 soldiers were killed. However, bloody acts of revenge by the military and the secret police, some of which were carried out in public, made the action known across the country. The Archbishop of Santiago, a friend of the Castro family, called for the murder to end immediately. This public change of opinion may have saved Castro's life, because when he was tracked down by a military patrol a few days later, the leading sergeant prevented his soldiers from lynching. Castro was arrested and brought to justice.

On October 16, 1953, the trial took place in Santiago de Cuba. In his defense speech Castro uttered his now famous sentence: “ History will acquit me !” (“La historia me absolverá!”) . Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Isla de Pinos . Under liberal conditions of detention - his brother-in-law Rafael Díaz-Balart was now deputy minister of the interior - he kept in touch with his political friends and family and took further political education with his fellow prisoners. The Moncada fighters, privileged as political prisoners, had a. free access to any literature. On May 15, 1955, Castro was released under a general amnesty after less than two years.

Flag of the Movement of July 26th

Castro left the Orthodox Party in March 1955 and founded the July 26th Movement with his companions in Cuba on June 12, 1955 . Their strategy was armed struggle through small secret cells in the underground, which were scattered all over the country.

Exile and expulsion of Batistas

Since military training and preparation were not possible in Cuba, a group of 82 fighters went into exile in Mexico on July 7, 1955 . Under the direction of the former Spanish officer Alberto Bayo , who had fought on the side of the Republic against Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War , the military training of the guerrillas began. There Castro also met the Argentine Ernesto Guevara , later commonly known as Che .

On November 25, 1956, Castro set out with Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos , his brother Raúl and 78 other revolutionaries from Tuxpan ( Mexico ) on the yacht Granma for Cuba, where they arrived on December 2nd. As Comandante en Jefe (Commanding Commander) he led the rebel army in the Sierra Maestra .

After more than two years of guerrilla warfare against the numerically superior army, Batista finally fled Cuba on January 1, 1959. The trade unions and bourgeois democrats had opposed the dictator, the USA had imposed an arms embargo after a massacre of opposition members and refused to provide military assistance. Nevertheless, until the fall of the Batista regime , the CIA was committed against revolutionary advocates and for the old regime, especially in Havana.

After the victory, Castro, who had claimed before the revolution that he did not want power for himself but that he wanted to retire into private life after the overthrow of the old regime, de facto became Cuba's new head of government by speaking out on politics in public mass meetings and televised speeches the revolutionary leadership pretended. On February 16, 1959, he also formally took over the office of Prime Minister, after José Miró Cardona, who had been appointed by him only five weeks earlier, had resigned in his favor, and handed over the supreme command of the armed forces to his brother Raúl.

Castro's role in building the new Cuba

Castro in 1959

For some time, Castro was the link between left-wing revolutionaries and the supporters of bourgeois - liberal convictions within his anti-Batista movement, which he did, however, in the course of 1959 ( Manuel Urrutia , Huber Matos , Manuel Ray and others) and in the first half of the year 1960 ( Rufo López Fresquet , Enrique Oltuski , Marcelo Fernández Font and others) removed from influential government offices and replaced by pro-communist followers, while his brother Raúl and Che Guevara pushed for the establishment of relations with the socialist countries. Since January 1959 the brothers Castro and Guevara had agreed in secret negotiations with the leadership of the Moscow Communist Party (PSP) at Castro's residence in Cojímar on joint action. It was only after a personal meeting with Nikita Khrushchev on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in 1960 that Castro gradually began to express himself positively in public about the Soviet Union . In his seminal speech on May 1, 1960, in the presence of guests of honor from communist countries, Castro declared for the first time that, contrary to his promises repeated before the revolution, he did not intend to hold free elections.

While Castro, Guevara and others emphasized the special role of Cuba in the revolutionary and socialist movement and among the non-aligned states, the old communists around Blas Roca and Aníbal Escalante wanted to swear the new party and Cuba to the leading role of the Soviet Union (USSR). Castro prevailed after a power struggle in the spring of 1962. This, as well as Castro and Guevara's annoyance at the unsettled withdrawal of Soviet missiles to end the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, led to tension in relations with the USSR. These intensified after the fall of Khrushchev in 1964 because of Che Guevara's sympathies for Maoism and after an attempt by Escalante (in consultation with Moscow) to overthrow Castro (end of 1967). Castro played tapes at a rally; Escalante and his supporters were arrested in January 1968. A new phase of close adherence to the Soviet model began just a few months later, when Castro declared his support for the suppression of the Prague Spring , which at the time cost him a great deal of international sympathy among left-wing intellectuals. The institutionalization of the revolutionary state promoted by Castro in the 1970s (First Party Congress, Constitution , National Assembly ) clearly followed the pattern of the Soviet-dominated Eastern Bloc states .


Castro's visit to the GDR in June 1972, Brandenburg Gate

Under Castro, Cuba pursued a policy of internationalism . In return for the extensive development aid provided by the Soviet Union and closely following the foreign policy of the Eastern Bloc, he sent troops to support communist regimes. For example, the government supported the Sandinista in Nicaragua , who fought against US-backed right-wing Contra groups.

In addition, Cuba pursued a permanent military and secret service engagement in Central Africa , especially in Angola , and also in Ethiopia . Cuban troops landed there on the eve of independence (1975) to help the Marxist-Leninist People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) under Agostinho Neto to seize power and to repel the FNLA and UNITA (see Cuban military operation in Angola ).

An essential part of Cuban internationalism is the sending of doctors, teachers, technicians and designers mainly to third world countries. So far, over 50,000 doctors have been sent to over 60 countries to provide humanitarian aid and earn foreign currency for Cuba, according to estimates by social scientist Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva around six billion US dollars per year. One example of this is the deployment of Cuban doctors in the slums of Venezuela . In the “ Barrio Adentro ” project , doctors from Cuba moved into quarters in the barrios to offer basic medical care and thus support the Bolivarian revolution . In return, Venezuela delivers its oil to Cuba well below world market prices.

After 1989

Castro was opposed to Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika . He took the risk associated with the reforms of the breakup of Moscow's sphere of influence for his own political survival very seriously and defended the Marxist-Leninist order of the Cuban state that he had established against the calls for economic and political openness that prevailed at home and abroad.

For Cuba's economy, trade with the countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) was of the utmost importance. When, from 1989 onwards, the Comecon failed due to the system change in most of the member states, Cuba plunged into an economic crisis that forced Castro to undertake economic reforms. This included the legalization of dollar ownership and the authorization of self-employed activities and free farmers' markets, accompanied by the opening of the country to tourism and foreign investment. This time is called Periodo Especial en Tiempo de Paz (special period in peacetime) or Periodo Especial for short .

In the meantime (as of the 2010s) the supply situation is somewhat better despite the still existing bottlenecks, but the political system has essentially remained unchanged.

Political office, step-by-step resignation from 2006

Castro held the office of President of the State, Chairman of the Council of State and Chairman of the Council of Ministers at the same time. As President, he also held the rank of Comandante en Jefe (Commander in Chief) of the Cuban Army. He was also First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba until 2011 .

On August 1, 2006, Fidel Castro temporarily gave up all his functions and offices to his younger brother Raúl due to a serious illness . The previous evening, Castro's private secretary, Carlos Valenciaga, read a personal letter from the president on television: “[…] working day and night without enough sleep resulted in extreme stress and, as a result, intestinal bleeding . That's why I had to undergo a complicated surgical procedure. "

On December 17, 2007, around a month before the parliamentary elections, Fidel Castro indicated in a letter that he now wanted to completely withdraw from his leadership positions. In a statement published by the party newspaper Granma on February 19, 2008 , he announced that he would finally refrain from running for office again as President and Commander-in-Chief . On February 24, parliament elected his brother Raúl to succeed him.

In the run-up to the VI. At the Communist Party Congress in April 2011, Fidel Castro said that he had actually not held the post of general secretary since 2006. On April 19, 2011, he officially ceded the office to his brother.

Since the establishment of the Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular Parliament in 1976, Fidel Castro has been an MP for the constituency of Santiago de Cuba. The last time he was re-elected in 2008 for the current 7th legislative period, it was his last official mandate. After more than four years of absence, he called a special session in August 2010 to deliver a speech to warn MPs and the nation of the dangers of an impending international nuclear war.

Assassinations, overturn plans

Since Castro took office, there have been numerous assassinations and plans to overthrow him; see in particular Operation Mongoose by the US government and the CIA . Fabian Escalante, the former Cuban secret service chief who was responsible for Castro's security for a long time, claims to have counted a total of 638 assassinations, most of them planned or supported by the CIA and carried out by Cubans in exile or US mafiosi . The CIA has so far admitted eight attempts of its own to murder. In fact, there were probably around 30 assassination attempts, which Castro survived unscathed, thanks in part to the efficient secret service . Due to the immense number of assassination attempts, according to the government- affiliated Cuban website Cubadebate , Castro is to be included in the Guinness Book of Records as the person who was considered to be the person with the most assassination attempts worldwide. In 2011 there was only one entry on the local online representation as “the longest serving statesman in the world”.

The range of means used ranged from poison in cigars or food to chemicals that cause hair loss or LSD to firearms or bombs. The CIA also worked with the two Mafia giants Sam Giancana and Santos Trafficante, who were among the most wanted criminals in the United States, in planning the assassination .

The economic sanctions imposed on Cuba by the USA were also dedicated to the overthrow of Fidel Castro. Robert Torricelli , initiator of the Torricelli Act , declared in 1992 that the aim of the sanctions was to cripple the Cuban economy to an extent that would lead to the overthrow of the Cuban president within a few weeks. US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented a 500-page report to the Advisory Commission for a Free Cuba on May 1, 2004 , in which measures for a rapid regime change in Cuba had been drawn up within six months with the cooperation of the US Secretary of Housing Mel Martínez of Cuban origin .

Illness, withdrawal from active politics

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner visits the sick Fidel Castro, January 21, 2009

In mid-2006, Fidel Castro suffered an intestinal bleeding and had to undergo a complicated operation. According to unconfirmed information, parts of his intestines were removed. As a result, he initially resigned only “temporarily” and then finally resigned from his political offices at the beginning of 2008, as already described above. However, he still occasionally met for private talks with high-ranking visitors who traveled to Cuba. Among them were several incumbent and former presidents (for example Dmitri Medvedev , Mahmud Ahmadineschad and Jimmy Carter ) as well as Pope Benedict XVI.

His political influence on current politics shortly before his death is controversial. Officially, he only advised his brother Raúl, the new head of state. However, observers said that real reforms in Cuba could only be realized after Fidel Castro's death, as he continues to ensure that his path of revolution is not abandoned. Between March 2007 and June 2012, Castro wrote numerous columns under the rubric of Comrade Fidel's reflections (until February 2008 initially: reflections of Commander-in-Chief Fidel ), which were published in the party newspaper Granma and in most of the other media in the country. After that, the reflections became less frequent. However, around 2013 he seemed to have devoted himself more to questions of agriculture in order to increase the country's own food production.

After Fidel Castro had seen a total of ten US presidents since 1959 , he declared in January 2009 that he would probably not live to see the end of the term of office of the then newly elected President Barack Obama , "his" now eleventh president, in 2013. However, as the year went on, Castro looked increasingly healthier in the photos he published. At the end of August 2009 he was seen on television for the first time in a long time, and on July 7, 2010, during a visit to the National Center for Scientific Research (CNIC), he appeared in public for the first time since his illness, where he was initially exclusively on foreign policy issues and warned, among other things, of a nuclear war as a result of a US attack on Iran or the Korean conflict. He also emphasized that he had now completely recovered.

Since then, there has been a renewed increase in the level of interference in domestic political issues. Experts see this as a reason for the sluggish reforms of his brother Raúl in the office of head of state. However, Fidel Castro's true influence on his brother's politics in his final years is difficult to gauge. The historian Michael Zeuske believes that Fidel's resignation will allow his myth not to be damaged. The reforms that were necessary and, in some cases, painful for the population, had to be taken on by his brother Raúl, not him. Fidel, on the other hand, was seen by many Cubans during their lifetime as the one “with whom everything was even better”.

On August 18, 2010, Castro praised the Russian publicist Daniel Estulin in the party newspaper Granma . In excerpts quoted by Castro, he claims, among other things, that the founders of the Bilderberg Conference brought Hitler to power, financed the Second World War, founded NATO , depoliticized the masses through rock music and drugs with the help of the Frankfurt School and the Tavistock Institute , Yom -Kippur , the Afghanistan and Kosovo wars , and they would encourage drug trafficking and research air passenger data. The following week, Estulin visited Castro for a public talk in which both agreed that the United States wanted to destroy Russia militarily and that Osama bin Laden was an agent of the CIA.

In September 2010, Castro made his last public speeches in front of several thousand listeners: first addressed to Cuban students on the steps of the University of Havana, a few weeks later on the 50th anniversary of the Committee to Defend the Revolution in front of the Revolution Museum. In a further lecture on the occasion of the presentation of his souvenir tape The Strategic Victory , Castro described the controversial deportation of around 1000 Romanian Roma to their home country practiced in France as a “racial Holocaust”, which was vehemently rejected by the French government. Immediately afterwards, Castro wrote in his column that President Nicolas Sarkozy was "apparently just going to lose his mind".

In the same month, Castro caused a special stir with statements made to the US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg , who accompanied him for an interview over several days. He called on Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to end his anti-Semitic ideology and recognize Israel's right to exist. When asked whether the “Cuban model” is still worth exporting, he said: “The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore”. After the publication, Castro relativized his statements that he meant them ironically, which the American Latin America expert Julia Sweig , who was also present at the conversation , denied. According to observers, Castro wanted to protect the economic reforms initiated by his brother Raúl against resistance in his own ranks. But he did not want to question the revolution itself, so Sweig. Castro biographer Carlos Widmann suspects that Fidel was still more against Raúl's reforms, but has since given up. His statements are gallows humor.

Castro was critical of the thaw in relations with the United States that began in late 2014 . “We don't need the Empire to give us anything,” was his central comment on Barack Obama's visit to Cuba in March 2016, the first US President in 88 years to make an official visit to the country. It remained unclear whether it was a firm rejection of rapprochement between the two states or a good-cop-bad-cop strategy between the brothers Raúl and Fidel.

After his resignation, Castro rarely appeared in public. In the parliamentary elections in February 2013 , he cast his vote in a public polling station for the first time since his illness and asked questions from the journalists present. After the elections, both Fidel and his brother Raúl continued to be MPs.


Tomb in Santa Ifigenia

According to official figures, Fidel Castro died in Havana in the late evening of November 25, 2016 at the age of 90. His brother Raúl then read a short statement on television in which he mentioned that the deceased would be cremated the following day at his own request. The ashes of Castro were brought to Santiago de Cuba over several days. Castro's last journey took the reverse route of the “Caravan of Freedom”, with which the revolutionaries entered Havana in 1959 after the fall of the dictator Fulgencio Batista. The funeral took place after nine days of national mourning on December 4th at the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia in Santiago de Cuba.

Reactions to his death

After Barack Obama had re- established diplomatic contacts between the United States and Cuba during his tenure as President of the United States after decades of the US boycott of Cuba , his political opponent and successor Donald Trump referred to Castro as " President-elect " after his death as "a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for almost six decades". According to Trump, Castro left a legacy of "firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights." The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, said: “India mourns the loss of a great friend. May his soul rest in peace. "The President of Bolivia Evo Morales said:" The death of Brother Comandante Fidel is very painful. The best honor is the unity of the peoples, is never to forget your resistance to the imperialist model and to the capitalist model ”. South African President Jacob Zuma confessed: "I will never forget Cuba's solidarity in the phase of the struggle against apartheid ". For the ex-president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff , Castro was "a contemporary visionary who believed in building a fraternal, just society free from hunger and exploitation, in a united and strong Latin America." And the ex-president of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner declared: “Fidel and Cuba are finally entering into great history. Together with his people he is an example of dignity and sovereignty. "

Awards and honors

In 1961 Fidel Castro received the Soviet International Lenin Peace Prize .

On December 11, 2014, he was awarded the Confucius Peace Prize. The committee based its decision on Castro's "significant contributions" to world peace.

To celebrate Castro's milestone birthday in 2016, tobacco dealer Jose Castelar rolled a 90 m long cigar in Havana on August 12, 2016 , surpassing the best in the Guinness Book of Records . He alluded to the fact that Castro is shown in a legendary picture of a younger age with a cigar in his mouth and in military uniform.


Human rights violations

In the first years of Castro's rule, numerous political opponents, several thousand according to American studies, were imprisoned and executed. Castro's opponents were labeled “ counter-revolutionaries ”, “ fascists ” or “CIA agents” and were imprisoned without trial and under extremely deplorable conditions. In 1965 labor camps were set up under the name “Military Units in Support of Production”, which Che Guevara justified as follows: They were for “people who have committed crimes against revolutionary morality”. Cubans, who, according to Castro's definition, were “social deviants” including homosexuals and those infected with HIV, were later imprisoned there in order to eradicate “counter-revolutionary” influences from parts of the population. The sociology professor Marifeli Pérez Stable, who immigrated to the USA as a child from Cuba in 1960 and supported the revolution as a young woman, reflects on the costs of the revolution: “[There were] thousands of executions, forty, fifty thousand political prisoners. The treatment of political prisoners, with what we know today about human rights and international norms relating to human rights ... it is legitimate to ask the question about possible human rights violations in Cuba. ”Castro admitted that there are political prisoners in Cuba, but he said so justified because they were imprisoned not for their views but for “counterrevolutionary crimes” including bombing.

Fidel Castro described the Cuban opposition as the illegitimate result of an ongoing conspiracy, raised by Cubans in exile with ties to the US government or the CIA, which is factually partially proven (see assassinations, overturn plans ). Castro's supporters claimed that his actions were legitimate to prevent the overthrow of the Cuban government, while his opponents, the Cuban-exile opposition in the United States and the United States itself, saw blame behind this portrayal to justify the political situation.

Amnesty International counted a total of 71 prisoners of conscience in its 2006 annual report. In addition, 30 prisoners were sentenced to death, and no execution has been carried out since 2003. The International Society for Human Rights even reports on 300 political prisoners known by name. She has launched a sponsorship program for German MPs for the detainees. Under the presidency of Fidel Castro's brother Raúl, those recognized by Amnesty International and other political prisoners were released until March 2011 and all existing death sentences were commuted to prison terms until the end of 2010.

Personality cult

The views on a personality cult around Fidel Castro are ambivalent. Until his resignation, he was constantly present in the Cuban media. He was a figure of identification of the Cuban revolution and the political left . In Cuba, even he was as far back as cultic worship. Students learn his theses by heart. During the funeral service they wore “Viva Fidel” on their cheeks, everyone shouted “Soy Fidel” (I am Fidel). Representations of Castro can be found on Cuban postage stamps, and pictures of him hang in many public buildings in Cuba. However, no statues or monuments were erected, and no streets or squares were named after him.

According to Fidel's declared will, it should stay that way even after his death: "The revolutionary leader rejected every personality cult and was consistent in it until the last hour of his life." Around five months after his death, a chair for Fidel-Castro was appointed at the University of Havana . Research established. There, the various aspects of his legacy are to be systematically processed.

In the Cuban and international media, he was often referred to as Máximo Líder (Greatest Leader) or Comandante en Jefe ( Supreme Commander ). After his resignation from his official positions, the title was Líder histórico de la Revolución Cubana (Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution) .


Juan Reynaldo Sanchez, a former bodyguard of Fidel Castro, reports in his book La Vie Cachée de Fidel Castro about the lavish lifestyle of the revolutionary leader, which is in contradiction to his communist ideology. For example, Sanchez reported that during his time as head of state, Castro was among other things. Owned a yacht with a marina, a private island and a basketball court.

There is no evidence of Castro's wealth and exuberant lifestyle in the form of bank statements. When asked , Forbes confirmed that it had included the value of Cuban state-owned companies when estimating its private assets. Ignacio Ramonet , former editor of the newspaper Le Monde diplomatique , attests to Fidel Castro, whom he has known since 1975 and conducted numerous interviews with him, the way of life of a “monk-soldier”: Spartan life, simple furniture, healthy and simple food.


In 1992 the long-time Prime Minister of Galicia, Manuel Fraga Iribarne , invited Fidel Castro to his father's birthplace. Castro visited the house where his father was born here in 1875. Like many other Galicians, he later sought his fortune in Cuba.

The longest speech in the UN plenary sessions between 1945 and 1976 was given by Fidel Castro on September 26, 1960 during the 872nd session. It lasted 269 minutes.

See also

Castro's works in German translation (selection)

- Chronologically, oldest first -

  • Fanal Cuba. Speeches and writings 1960–1962. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1963.
  • About Che Guevara. 1st edition: Voltaire Verlag, Berlin 1967.
  • Our strength lies in unity. Visits to the GDR, the USSR and Chile. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1973.
  • Battle and death of Salvador Allende. Pahl-Rugenstein, Cologne 1974, ISBN 3-7609-0145-X .
  • Selected speeches on international politics 1965–1976. Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 1976, ISBN 3-85869-001-5 .
  • Selected speeches. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1976.
  • Letters 1953–1955. Offizin Andersen Nexö Leipzig , 1984.
  • If we want to survive. The economic and social crisis of the world. Weltkreis-Verlag, Dortmund 1984, ISBN 3-88142-308-7 .
  • Fidel Castro - My Life (with Ignacio Ramonet; German Barbara Köhler). Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86789-128-8 .
  • Reflections. Verlag Wiljo Heinen, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-939828-32-7 .
  • History will acquit me. Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86789-061-8 .
  • The strategic victory. Memories of the revolution. Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-355-01800-5 .

Cinematic reception


See also

Web links

Commons : Fidel Castro  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Claudia Furiati: Fidel Castro: La historia me absolverá. P. 48f, Plaza Janés, Barcelona 2003 (Spanish).
  2. Michael Zeuske: Cuba in the 21st century. P. 85 f., Rotbuch, Berlin 2012., Cuba: Moments of sadness. In: Der Spiegel from May 6, 2002
  3. ^ Cuba's former President Fidel Castro has died ,, November 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Obituary Fidel Castro: Liberator and Dictator , Tagesschau , November 26, 2016
  5. a b Los secretos de la vida Fidel Castro , BBC Mundo from November 26, 2016 (Spanish)
  6. ^ A b Castro, El Infiel (PDF), Elizabeth Burgos
  7. Jens Glüsing: Cuba: Moments of Sadness. In: Der Spiegel of May 6, 2002, accessed December 26, 2013
  8. Michael Zeuske: Cuba in the 21st century. Rotbuch Verlag, 2012, p. 86
  9. a b Bourne, Fidel Castro , 1988
  10. ^ José de Villa and Jürgen Neubauer: Máximo Líder. Fidel Castro. A biography , p. 24
  11. ^ Coltman, The Real Fidel Castro , 2005
  12. New York Times of January 4, 1962: Vatican Declares Castro Incurred Church's Excommuniction Automatically; Penalty Is Explained , accessed on January 2, 2010
  13. ^ Archbishop: John XXIII. did not excommunicate Castro. In: Kathpress , March 28, 2012, accessed March 28, 2012
  14. Restoration meets revolution. In: Spiegel Online , March 28, 2012
  15. Alexander Ross: Fidel Castro junior. In: Cicero , September 26, 2005
  16. Alina Fernandez Revuelta, . In: Der Spiegel . No. 36 , 1994 ( online ).
  17. La reservada vida familiar y amorosa de Fidel Castro , of November 26, 2016 (Spanish)
  18. Leo Wieland (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 4, 2016): Castro's former wife breaks her silence .
  19. IBAF meets with IOC, ISF at Sport Accord. ( Memento of April 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) In: IBAF , April 6, 2011, (English)
  20. Quirk, Robert E. (1993). Fidel Castro. WW Norton & Company, New York, ISBN 978-0-393-03485-1 , pp. 12-19.
  22. Did Fidel Castro Almost Play Baseball for the US Major Leagues?
  23. ; Peter Ueberroth took advantage of this to fend off a boycott organized by Moscow, including the African states of the 1984 Summer Olympics , with baseball and Castro's help , see Arnd Krüger : Between Politics and Commerce. It happened 15 years ago. Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In: Damals 31 (1999), 5, pp. 8-11.
  24. Ros, 2003
  25. Michael Zeuske: Cuba in the 21st century . P. 87.
  27. Ignacio Ramonet (2008): Fidel Castro. My life. Rotbuch Verlag. P. 135 ff.
  28. Michael Zeuske: Insel der Extremes , 2nd edition, p. 167 ff.
  29. Gerd Koenen : Traumpfade der Weltrevolution , p. 91 ff.
  30. Gerd Koenen: Traumpfade der Weltrevolution , p. 117 ff.
  31. 1959: Castro sworn in as Cuban PM , BBC On This Day, accessed on June 2, 2012 (English).
  32. Arnaldo M. Fernández: Allard rueda rueda ( memento of January 10, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) in: of July 6, 2010, accessed on June 2, 2012 (Spanish).
  33. ^ Deutsches Historisches Museum : Timeline 1959
  34. Simon Reid-Henry: Fidel & Che: A Revolutionary Friendship. Scepter, London 2008, pp. 209-211 (English).
  35. Arte Verschollene Filmschätze - 1960. Fidel Castro in front of the UN, November 27, 2016, 12:20 am, 26 min., Accessed on December 1, 2016
  36. Carlos Widmann: Exoticism of Decay: The Moscow Model on Cuba, in: Der Spiegel from August 2, 1999, accessed on May 5, 2014
  37. Fidel Castro: Discurso (…) en conmemoración del Día del Trabajo, May 1, 1960, on the official website of the Cuban government, accessed on May 5, 2014 (Spanish).
  38. More Cuban doctors and nurses arrive in west Africa to fight Ebola , The Guardian of October 22, 2014
  39. ^ Healthcare in Brazil and Cuba: Exchange doctors for foreign currency
  40. : The Cuban Patient , May 19, 2010.
  41. Castro: withdrawal indicated taz, December 18, 2007.
  42. Epochenwechsle -Fidel Castro says goodbye , SZ online 19 February, 2008.
  43. Asamblea Nacional: Mensaje del Comandante en Jefe ( Memento of March 4, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), February 19, 2008.
  44. Who is who .
  45. Fidel confirms: I'm no longer party leader , Der Standard , March 22, 2011.
  46. Cuba's renewal: the old are followed by the old , Spiegel Online from April 19, 2011.
  47. Fidel en la Asamblea Nacional ( Memento of October 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (Spanish) In: Granma of August 7, 2010, accessed on May 26, 2011.
  48. 638 ways to kill Castro The Guardian, August 3, 2006.
  49. Spiegel-Online / Einestages: Assassinations and Political Murders , accessed on July 29, 2008.
  50. Michael Zeuske : Fidel Castro and the history of Cubas (2) in: Federal Center for Political Education of January 8, 2008.
  51. ^ Fidel, la persona que más veces intentaron matar , of December 15, 2011.
  52. Entry in the Book of Records: Fidel Castro survived 638 assassinations , , December 16, 2011, accessed on December 16, 2011.
  54. US Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities - Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, November 20, 1975, pp. 71-180 (also called "Church Committee Reports").
  55. ^ New York Times, Nov. 22, 1964, p. 26.
  56. ME Monroe: Common Courage 1995, Appendix III, p. 453.
  57. CIA files confirm murder plan against Fidel Castro , Sü of May 17, 2010, viewed on January 24, 2013
  58. ^ Cuba-Related Legislation ( Memento from April 19, 2002 in the Internet Archive )
  59. ^ Commission for Assistance for a free Cuba: Report to the President ( Memento of May 8, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) May 2004
  60. a b c Marc Frank: Fidel Castro's role in Cuba is chiefly offstage as he turns 87 , Reuters , August 12, 2013.
  61. ^ NZZ / Volker Skierka : Cuba is waiting for its future , August 9, 2008.
  62. ^ Reflexiones del compañero Fidel .
  63. Matthias Rüb: Fidel Castro: Reflections of a Revolutionary ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), in: from July 31, 2007
  64. taz: Fidel skeptical about his health - I'll be gone , January 23, 2009.
  65. Granma / Fidel Castro: El undécimo presidente de Estados Unidos , January 22, 2009.
  66. Fidel Castro looks healthy in a new photo , Der Standard, August 13, 2009.
  67. ^ Fidel Castro on television again , NZZ, August 25, 2009.
  68. Visitó Fidel el CENIC (+ photos) , in of July 10, 2010
  69. Uwe Optenhögel Cuba: How tropical socialism risks its own legacy (PDF; 173 kB) , in: Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft 3/2010.
  70. Michael Zeuske: Cuba in the 21st century . P. 91.
  71. ^ Fidel Castro: Die Weltregierung , In: Granma , Part One ( Memento of October 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), August 19, 2010, Part Two ( Memento of October 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), August 20, 2010.
  72. Humanity must preserve itself in order to live for thousands of years ( Memento from October 8, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), in: Granma from August 27, 2010 (English)
  73. Martin Jay : Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe ( Memento of July 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), Salmagundi Magazine , Skidmore College (English)
  74. Fidel Castro: The Old Man and the Mistakes of the Past , in: Spiegel Online , September 11, 2010, accessed on October 4, 2012.
  75. ^ Message to the students of Cuba , German translation of the speech from September 3, 2010 on the website of the FRG-Cuba friendship society , accessed on October 4, 2012.
  76. We fulfilled the promise of that immortal evening and you will continue to fulfill it! , German translation of the speech from September 28, 2010 on the website of the FRG-Cuba friendship society , accessed on October 4, 2012.
  77. Fidel Castro: Mensaje en la presentación de "La contraofensiva estratégica". In: Juventud Rebelde , September 10, 2010, accessed November 5, 2013 (Spanish).
  78. Fidel Castro accuses Paris of “racial holocaust” because of Roma politics. ( Memento from November 5, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In: , September 10, 2010, accessed on November 5, 2013.
  79. ^ France condemns Castro Roma 'holocaust' remark. In: BBC News , September 11, 2011, accessed November 5, 2013.
  80. ^ Fidel Castro: La infinita hipocresía de Occidente. In: Cubadebate , September 12, 2010, accessed on November 5, 2013 (Spanish), German translation: The boundless hypocrisy of the West. In: The German-language Fidel Castro archive .
  81. Jeffrey Goldberg: Fidel to Ahmadinejad: 'Stop Slandering the Jews' , The Atlantic, September 7, 2010
  82. Fidel Castro: "End the defamation of Jews" ,, September 8, 2010.
  83. Fidel: “Cuban Model” no longer works , Der Standard , September 9, 2010.
  84. a b Jeffrey Goldberg: Fidel: 'Cuban Model Doesn't Even Work For Us Anymore' , The Atlantic, September 8, 2010.
  85. Castro denies criticism of the economic model , Der Standard, September 11, 2010
  86. Castro breaks with Cuba's economic system ( Memento from September 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) , , September 9, 2010.
  87. ^ Carlos Widmann: The last book on Fidel Castro , p. 329.
  88. Boris Herrmann: Why Fidel Castro railed against the USA , , March 29, 2016
  89. Fidel Castro amazes with appearance at the polling station. In: Die Welt , February 4, 2013
  90. An era is coming to an end ,, November 26, 2016.
  91. Long queues in front of books of condolence for Fidel Castro in Cuba
  92. Complete Schedule for Funeral Rites of Fidel Castro in Cuba , Havana Times, November 27, 2016
  93. The grave of Fidel Castro
  95. Granma Internacional, 12/2016, p. 15.
  96. Granma Internacional, 12/2016, p. 14.
  97. Granma Internacional, 12/2016, p. 15.
  99. Granma Internacional, 12/2016, p. 15.
  100. Granma Internacional, 12/2016, p. 15.
  101. China-Cuba-Awards-People: China awards Fidel Castro with the Confucius Peace Prize. In: . December 11, 2014, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  102. 90-meter cigar for the 90's by Fidel Castro, August 13, 2016, accessed August 13, 2016.
  103. ^ Matthew White : Minor Atrocities of the Twentieth Century . June 2005, accessed June 1, 2006 .
  104. Ernest Volkman: Our man in Havana. Cuban double agents 1961-1987 . In: Espionage: The Greatest Spy Operations of the Twentieth Century . Wiley, New York 1995, ISBN 0-471-16157-8 .
  105. ^ Jorge Castañeda: Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara . Vintage, New York 1998, ISBN 0-340-56650-7 , pp. 62 .
  106. ^ American Experience - Fidel Castro - People & Events. In: December 21, 1004, accessed March 3, 2015 .
  107. ^ PBS Online NewsHour: Fidel Castro ( Memento of December 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) February 12, 1985.
  108. 2006 Elections to the Human Rights Council - Background information on candidate countries - Cuba. In: Amnesty International. Archived from the original ; accessed on December 31, 2011 .
  109. Cuba / ISHR sponsorship program: MPs stand up for political prisoners
  110. ^ Cuba: imprisonment instead of the death penalty in: News , December 29, 2010, accessed on December 30, 2011.
  111. Amnesty International: Cuba releases political prisoners (PDF; 8 kB) Press release of March 23, 2011, accessed on December 30, 2011.
  112. a b Chair for "Fidel Castro Research" established in Cuba. In: The Standard. April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017 .
  113. Jens Glüsing: Standing at attention with a straw hat. In: Spiegel Online. December 5, 2016, accessed April 14, 2017 .
  114. Ignacio Ramonet: The Fidel I Knew 2016 . Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  115. Funeral service for Der Fidel Castro: Farewell with oath of loyalty December 4, 2016 . Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  116. Focus Online: Communism for the People, Luxury for Him: The Secret Protzleben des Fidel Castro , accessed on June 20, 2014.
  117. ^ The Guardian: Fidel Castro lived like a king in Cuba, book claims , accessed June 20, 2014.
  118. La vida secreta de Fidel, contada por su ex custodio de elite (Spanish) on
  119. La verdadera personalidad de Fidel Castro y sus negocios con el tráfico de drogas y armas (Spanish) on from June 8, 2015
  120. Ex guardia revela polémicos secretos sobre Fidel Castro (Spanish) on
  121. Michael Schmidt: Poor but fidel May 18, 2006 . Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  122. Ignacio Ramonet: The Fidel I knew. In: amerika21. November 27, 2016, accessed December 5, 2016 .
  123. Costa Blanca News December 1st, 2016
  124. ST / OGS / SER.F / 4 + Add.1-2.
  125. A / PV.872