Communist idol Fidel Castro's early years as Cuba's revolutionary leader

Guerrilla revolutionary and communist idol, Fidel Castro was a holdout against history who turned tiny Cuba into a thorn in the paw of the mighty capitalist United States. The former Cuban president, who died aged 90 on Friday, said he would never retire from politics.

FP Staff November 26, 2016 13:56:54 IST
Guerrilla revolutionary and communist idol, Fidel Castro, smokes a cigar during interviews with the press in Havana during a visit of US Senator Charles McGovern in May 1975. Castro was a holdout against history who turned tiny Cuba into a thorn in the paw of the mighty capitalist United States. The former Cuban president, who died aged 90 on Friday, said he would never retire from politics. Reuters
1/12
Guerrilla revolutionary and communist idol, Fidel Castro, smokes a cigar during interviews with the press in Havana during a visit of US Senator Charles McGovern in May 1975. Castro was a holdout against history who turned tiny Cuba into a thorn in the paw of the mighty capitalist United States. The former Cuban president, who died aged 90 on Friday, said he would never retire from politics. Reuters
Born on 13 August, 1926 to a prosperous Spanish immigrant landowner and a Cuban mother who was the family housekeeper, young Castro was a baseball fanatic who dreamed of a golden future playing in the US big leagues. However, he went on to form the guerrilla opposition to the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista, who seized power in a 1952 coup. Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara attend the 1st National Meeting for Production in Cuba in this undated file photo. Reuters
2/12
Born on 13 August, 1926 to a prosperous Spanish immigrant landowner and a Cuban mother who was the family housekeeper, young Castro was a baseball fanatic who dreamed of a golden future playing in the US big leagues. However, he went on to form the guerrilla opposition to the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista, who seized power in a 1952 coup. Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara attend the 1st National Meeting for Production in Cuba in this undated file photo. Reuters
Fidel Castro addresses the crowd during an event at Revolution Square in Havana in this undated file photo. Castro held onto power as 11 US presidents took office and each after the other sought to pressure his regime over the decades following his 1959 revolution, which closed a long era of Washington's dominance over Cuba dating to the 1989 Spanish-American War. Reuters
3/12
Fidel Castro addresses the crowd during an event at Revolution Square in Havana in this undated file photo. Castro held onto power as 11 US presidents took office and each after the other sought to pressure his regime over the decades following his 1959 revolution, which closed a long era of Washington's dominance over Cuba dating to the 1989 Spanish-American War. Reuters
Fidel Castro shares a laugh with Malcolm X at the Hotel Theresa in New York, 19 October, 1960. In April 1961, he weathered an invasion attempt by some 1,300 CIA-trained Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. Reuters
4/12
Fidel Castro shares a laugh with Malcolm X at the Hotel Theresa in New York, 19 October, 1960. In April 1961, he weathered an invasion attempt by some 1,300 CIA-trained Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. Reuters
Fidel Castro plays basketball with university students in Krakow, Poland, on 8 June, 1972. An energetic symbol of defiance for developing countries and a driving force behind the Non-Aligned Movement, Castro proved even a small sovereign nation could thumb its nose at the world's biggest superpower. Reuters
5/12
Fidel Castro plays basketball with university students in Krakow, Poland, on 8 June, 1972. An energetic symbol of defiance for developing countries and a driving force behind the Non-Aligned Movement, Castro proved even a small sovereign nation could thumb its nose at the world's biggest superpower. Reuters
Fidel Castro (L) and PLO leader Yasser Arafat stand together at the airport in Havana during Arafat's first visit to Cuba on 14 November, 1974. Castro strode the world stage as a communist icon when the Cold War was at its height. He sent 15,000 soldiers to help Soviet-backed troops in Angola in 1975 and dispatched forces to Ethiopia in 1977. Reuters
6/12
Fidel Castro (L) and PLO leader Yasser Arafat stand together at the airport in Havana during Arafat's first visit to Cuba on 14 November, 1974. Castro strode the world stage as a communist icon when the Cold War was at its height. He sent 15,000 soldiers to help Soviet-backed troops in Angola in 1975 and dispatched forces to Ethiopia in 1977. Reuters
Fidel Castro (R) meets with Reverend WA Raifford (2nd-L), chief of the White Birds from the Creek Indians in Havana, 16 July, 1959. Raifford gave Castro the name Spiheechie Meeko (Big Warrior Chief). The bearded, cigar-puffing leader, renowned for trademark army fatigues and hours-long public tirades, grabbed power in a January 1, 1959 revolution. Living by the slogan "socialism or death," Castro kept the faith to the end, even as the Cold War came and went.
7/12
Fidel Castro (R) meets with Reverend WA Raifford (2nd-L), chief of the White Birds from the Creek Indians in Havana, 16 July, 1959. Raifford gave Castro the name Spiheechie Meeko (Big Warrior Chief). The bearded, cigar-puffing leader, renowned for trademark army fatigues and hours-long public tirades, grabbed power in a January 1, 1959 revolution. Living by the slogan "socialism or death," Castro kept the faith to the end, even as the Cold War came and went.
Cuban president Fidel Castro (R) expresses his joy in meeting former South African president Nelson Mandela at Mandela's office in Johannesburg 02 September 2001 . Castro who took part in the UN World Racism conference in Durban used the opportunity to visit Mandela, whose health is affected by cancer. (Photo: AFP)
8/12
Cuban president Fidel Castro (R) expresses his joy in meeting former South African president Nelson Mandela at Mandela's office in Johannesburg 02 September 2001 . Castro who took part in the UN World Racism conference in Durban used the opportunity to visit Mandela, whose health is affected by cancer. (Photo: AFP)
This file photo taken on 21 January, 1998 shows Pope John Paul II (L) greeted by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana just prior to their private talks. (Photo: Reuters/AP)
9/12
This file photo taken on 21 January, 1998 shows Pope John Paul II (L) greeted by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana just prior to their private talks. (Photo: Reuters/AP)
In this picture hand-out by Estudios Revolucion, the Iranian President Hasan Rohani (L) is received by former Cuban President Fidel Castro (R) in his house of Havana, on 19 September, 2016. Castro squeezed the maximum out of his 90 years which ended when he died late Friday, getting by on snatched rest, sustained by the passion of his interests and the revolution he nurtured for nearly half a century. (Photo: AFP)
10/12
In this picture hand-out by Estudios Revolucion, the Iranian President Hasan Rohani (L) is received by former Cuban President Fidel Castro (R) in his house of Havana, on 19 September, 2016. Castro squeezed the maximum out of his 90 years which ended when he died late Friday, getting by on snatched rest, sustained by the passion of his interests and the revolution he nurtured for nearly half a century. (Photo: AFP)
Cuban President Fidel Castro, left, welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin to Cuba 14 December, 2000 at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba. Putin is the first President of Russia to visit Cuba since the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Photo: Newsmakers)
11/12
Cuban President Fidel Castro, left, welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin to Cuba 14 December, 2000 at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba. Putin is the first President of Russia to visit Cuba since the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Photo: Newsmakers)
In this undated photo, Saddam Hussein poses with Fidel Castro. Castro was in power for over 44 years, making him the world's longest-serving head of state. (Photo: Getty Images)
12/12
In this undated photo, Saddam Hussein poses with Fidel Castro. Castro was in power for over 44 years, making him the world's longest-serving head of state. (Photo: Getty Images)