Fidel Castro was born on August 13, 1926. As a child, he lived on a farm in the town of Mayari in the province of Oriente. His father was the owner of a 23, 000-acre plantation. While he was young, Castro worked in his family’s sugar cane fields. He was raised a Catholic, and attended Catholic schools throughout his childhood. In 1945 he enrolled at the University of Havana. During his schooling, Castro expressed his academic interests in politics, sociology, history, and agriculture. Fidel Castro excelled in many areas of academics. However, Fidel graduated in 1950 with a law degree.
While in college, he married Mirta Diaz-Balart in 1948, but they soon divorced after a short lived marriage six years later in 1954. A year after they were married, they had a son, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, born in 1949. After a callous end to the marriage that resulted in divorce, Fidel had his son kidnapped and taken to Mexico. During the 1940’s Fidel Castro became exceptionally knowledgeable of Cuban politics. In 1951 he was a leader in the growing populist political movement led by the Partido del Pueblo Cubano, an anti-Communist nationalist group.
At this time, Fidel was expecting to gain the presidency through an election, and planned to run for Congress. Unfortunately, on March 10, 1952, the constitutional government was overthrown by Fulgencio Batista, a strong military influence in Cuba since 1933. Because of this, Fidel Castro, and a group of followers organized a rebellion. He led a civilian armed attack against the Moncada military barracks on July 26, 1953. The attack failed and Castro was sentenced to prison. He was imprisoned from 1953 to 1955.
In May 1955, he was pardoned and Castro went into exile in Mexico. He “ began to train an expeditionary force. In late 1956 he landed with 82 in southern Oriente to initiate guerrilla war. The movement grew, and from the Sierra Maestra Mountains Fidel organized a parallel government, carried out a mini-agrarian reform, established controlled territories with agricultural and manufacturing production, set up a radio station, and even created a small air force” (unm. edu) It was this guerrilla movement in Latin America that was the first to defeat the military.
On January 1, 1959, the Cuban revolution began under his leadership with the largest popular support of any political movement in the history of the country” (unm. edu) On that day, Fidel Castro over threw the Batista regime. “ Widely hailed as a liberator, Castro proved to be a charismatic, though sometimes ruthless, leader. ” (encyclopedia. com) While Castro was in power, he gained much of the support of the population. Many of his followers have expressed great admiration for the leader of the revolution, and he remains the center of politics and the economy of Cuba and its people.
On the other hand, once the new Cuba was established, the working class was the main beneficiary. This created a hardship for the middle and upper classes, many of whom fled to the United States. Fidel Castro, like many leaders modern and of the past, have won the respect and admiration of the people by possessing certain traits that make them respected, admired, and unforgettable. One trait Castro possessed that gained him the popularity of the Cuban people was that he was a persuasive and moving speaker. Other personal qualities that made Castro a good leader are his qualities of being action oriented.
Taking action on behalf of the people, especially in the form of a revolution, can gain the respect of many. He is also notable because of his strong character, determination, and persistence. Good leaders throughout history are also known to be dedicated. They have personalities of being strong willed and persistent in the political system. “ He projects a public image of self-confidence…. Self assurance, strong will, are all accompanied by keen intelligence.
Even opponents concede that Castro is bright, insightful, and well-read. His loyal and devoted followers see him as a man of integrity, personal courage and selflessness. (unm. edu) While keeping popularity among citizens is a difficult task; it is even harder to be accepted in the first place. When Fidel Castro first came into power, it was his speaking power that gained him recognition. In his speeches, he inspires confidence. “ The spoken word is clearly one of the most important instruments Castro has at his command. ” (unm. edu) However, like any political society, no political form is utopian. There are many people in Cuba as well as in the international community that feel that Fidel Castro is not a good leader.
For example, when the Cuban leader turned the state into a communist regime, the United States funded Cuban exiles in a military battle with Cuban militants in what is known today as the Bay of Pigs. The people of Cuba, while many favor the continual reign of the dictator, many are oppressed and want a change. To them Fidel Castro is an example of a bad leader. He is one who violates their civil rights and does nothing to help the poor and underprivileged. Not only do the people who dislike their ruler have distaste for communism, but they also hold negative views about Castro’s ‘ revolution’.
They feel that his revolution did not benefit them because they are still poor (stp. uh. edu). Because the country entered a crises period after the fall of the Soviet Union, there was popular unrest among the citizens of Cuba. The end of the Cold War as well as Cuba’s increased economic difficulties and the Castro’s unwillingness to deal with members of the international community have diminished Castro’s standing as an effective leader. Many anti-Castro movements were not only rooted in civil rights violations, but they resulted from the high tax imposed on them by the dictator because of the crises in Cuba.
This high tax caused many of the Cuban residents to leave. “ They were mainly members of the middle and upper classes who were being heavily taxed by the government. Almost all of the extremely wealthy members of society fled, as they lost much of their property to the new government. ” (thinkquest. org) The people of a state are likely to dislike a leader when they are oppressed. Oppression is a bad quality in a leader whether it comes in the form of high taxes, civil rights oppressions, or not helping the poor.
Once a country falls into a state of crises, as in the case of Cuba, it is not unusual that the people revolt and the popularity of the leader will decrease or diminish. In conclusion, in any state, there are many leaders throughout history that can be regarded as strong influential leaders, or cruel ignorant leaders. Many people hold different ideals about what they feel their leader should be, thus creating great support, or revolutions and uprisings. Fidel Castro is one of those leaders. “ Although his prestige has dwindled, Castro remains a symbol of social justice and revolutionary progress for many Cubans. (encyclopedia. com)
While respected and adorned by many, there are still some in Cuba that are oppressed and feel that the dictator should be over thrown. This also applies to the people and governments in the international community. For example, the United States has long been opposed to the communist leader, while the former Soviet Union played an important role in the rise of Cuba in the political and economic realm with great support for Fidel Castro. Leaders can come in many forms with many different ideologies. It is the people who actually decide what a good leader is.