Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born 13 August 1926 of the year (according to other sources, he was born 13 April or even 1927 year) in Cuba in the town of Biran (Oriente province). His father was Angel Castro Argis (1875 — 1956), a migrant from the province of Galicia (Spain). Angel Castro was a poor peasant who left Spain in search of a better life. In Cuba, he worked hard and was able to raise the initial capital for the purchase of land. Becoming a landowner, he multiplied the state, becoming the owner of a large sugar plantation. In the most fruitful years, up to 500 people worked on the plantation. In addition, Angel was engaged in the development of forest land and animal husbandry. Castro's family entered the circle of wealthy owners. Mother - Lina Rus Gonzalec (1903 — 1963), also descended from the peasants, was a cook on the Angel estate. She gave birth to five children to Angel Castro.
Castro's parents were illiterate, but the children tried to give a good education. Fidel was one of the best students in school, thanks to his excellent memory. Already in his youth, Fidel showed himself as a passionate and purposeful person. He was distinguished by a keen sense of justice. When Fidel learned to write and read, the family decided to send him along with one of the sisters to Santiago de Cuba, the main city of the then province of Oriente, so that the boy could continue his education.
Fidel was determined to study in the first class of the Catholic college "Brothers La Salle", he originally lived in the house of godparents and mother. But their cavils led to the conflict, and the young man began to live in a school dormitory. Soon, his brothers Ramon and Raul began to live with him, who also came to Santiago to continue their studies. Free time Fidel devoted to sports - in college, he began to engage in baseball, basketball, boxing and billiards. In general, the young man with passion was taken for everything new. During the holidays, when the brothers were returning home, he did not get off his beloved horse for hours or bathed in the river. During sports, his perseverance was manifested; he could spend hours, until he was exhausted or when night fell, to work out moves and throws. He became an excellent swimmer and diver, in the future, Fidel will become a master of spearfishing. Physically strong Fidel was not a bully, as is often the case with physically developed young men, but he never let go of the offenders.
Fidel and his brothers studied for four years in college, then his father, after the Christmas holidays in 1936, announced to his sons that for them the study at La Salle College was over. The elder brother, Ramon, was pleased with this decision, he had long been eyeing the affairs of his father, he loved agricultural machinery. Raul identified in a private paramilitary college. With the support of his mother, Fidel was able to convince his father to continue his studies. He returned to Santiago, no longer with his brothers, but with his sister, and entered the Dolores College, which belonged to the local branch of the Jesuit Order. In it, Fidel studied before the 1942 year. Among the interests of the young man began to prevail military-historical themes. Fidel stood out for his successes in the humanities - history, geography and literature were his favorite subjects. Still devoted a lot of time to physical culture, believing that it helps to form a strong character. Fidel's father at the end of the 1930-s became interested in politics, investing a lot of money in this business. Mother was against these adventures, when money earned with great difficulty, settled in the pockets of politicians and journalists. Her negative attitude to the then Cuban politics was also accepted by her son.
In 1942, Fidel Castro moved to Havana and began studying at Belen College, in which he had to complete his secondary education and prepare for university entrance. The college was a privileged educational institution for children from rich families. His graduates, as a rule, continued their studies at the University of Havana or went abroad, upon completion of their education, included the business and political elite of Cuba. Fidel studied in college for three years, continuing to study the humanities, especially history and to get involved in sports. Especially achieved great success in basketball, becoming the leader of the student team. He was even included in the national team of all colleges in Cuba called "Basketball Stars". The young man received several commendable diplomas and awards for success in the humanities and for an excellent knowledge of programs in history, sociology, Spanish and English languages, agriculture. At the same time, Fidel assumed the functions of a guardian over the sisters who had studied at the Catholic college "Las Ursulinas". Helped them in their studies.
Fidel took the first steps in the public life of the country. He made a presentation on the topic “Comparative Analysis of Public Education Systems in Different Countries”, where he was shocked by the proposal to introduce public education and gradually curtail the system of private privileged schools in Cuba. 19-year-old boys Fidel successfully completed the 13-year course of Cuban full secondary education.
In 1945, Fidel entered the law faculty of the University of Havana. Fidel Castro became one of the leaders of the student organization, and was the soul of the baseball team of lawyers. Fidel Castro read a lot, studied the works of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mussolini, General Miguel Primo de Rivera (Spanish military and political figure, dictator). Already in 1946, speaking on behalf of the Federation of University Students, Fidel criticized the government, which indifferently observes how people are dying of hunger.
In 1947, Fidel took part in the first political adventure. He became a “lieutenant” on an expedition that planned to overthrow the regime of L. Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. The composition of the expedition was variegated - from idealists to frank adventurers and bandits. Fidel Castro took a course of military training. The detachment was transported to the deserted sandy island of Cayo Confites, where it was planned to equip it and then transfer to the Dominican Republic. Under US pressure, Cuban authorities arrested failed revolutionaries. Fidel, when it was not far to the coast, managed to jump into the water and successfully escape.
The political life of Cuba. Fidel's first steps in politics
Cuba was one of the colonies of Spain and had a rich history of uprisings. In the 19 century, there were three wars of independence - the Ten Years War (1868-1878), the Small War (1879 — 1880) and the War of Independence of Cuba (1895 — 1898), all of which ended in the defeat of the rebels. However, during the last uprising "on the side" of the rebels, realizing their own geopolitical plans, the United States came out. The Spanish-American War of 1898 of the Year ended with a complete US victory. The Paris Peace Treaty of December 10 1898 of the year affirmed Cuba's “independence”. For several decades, the Antilles Pearl has become a semi-colony of the USA, a place of rest and a “brothel” of Americans. American troops were stationed in all strategically important places in Cuba.
The political life of Cuba was distinguished by corruption, embezzlement, the power of politicians and demagogues who relied on oligarchic groups. The criminal groups had a great influence. Especially these phenomena flourished under President Grau San Martin (reigned in 1944 — 1948). There was a split in the ruling party. From it in 1947, a group of the most radical figures, mostly young people, emerged. They were headed by Senator Eduardo Chibas. He called the new party "Orthodox" (the party of the Cuban people), in a sign that it will continue the work of José Martí (a consistent fighter for the independence of Cuba from Spain). The symbol of the party has become a broom. Fidel became close to the leadership of the party and joined its ranks. In Cuba, a wave of political terrorism swept, dozens of people became victims. Opponents of the government killed. Several times they tried to kill Fidel.
In 1948, Fidel took part in the IX Pan-American Conference, which was held in Bogota. 9 April 1948 was shot by leftist leader Jorge Elieser Gaitan, who was very popular among the people. An armed uprising in the capital (“Bogotaso”), in which Fidel took part, caused an attempt on him. The rebels besieged the presidential palace, pogroms were going on in the city, fires began, prisons were opened, and prisoners were released. Hundreds of people died, thousands were injured. As a result, this uprising was the beginning of a fierce civil war in Colombia, in which tens of thousands of people died. It lasted until 1958.
The experience of this spontaneous uprising showed Fidel the power of popular protest, which is capable of paralyzing power, and at the same time the need for a political organization and leader who can organize people to continue the struggle. The fury of spontaneous protest gradually subsides, it is strategically helpless and hopeless. From a trip to Bogota, Fidel returned with the firm conviction that his path was the path of a professional revolutionary.
Returning to Cuba, Fidel took an active part in the election campaign on the side of E. Chibas. In the elections, with the support of the former government and the Americans, the victory was won by Carlos Prio Sokarras (1948 - 1952). In 1948, there was a major change in Fidel’s personal life; he fell in love with the student of the Philosophy and Literary Department of the University, Mirt Dias Balart. In October 1948, they got married.
In 1949, Fidel was one of the active participants in organizing a student protest against price increases on buses in Havana and an anti-American demonstration near the American embassy. The anti-American rally was caused by the mockery of American sailors over the monument to José Martí’s monument in Central Park. As a result, the American ambassador was forced to apologize. After the victory of the Cuban revolution, the personal file of Fidel Castro was discovered, as a summary of his social activities was written: "He was a constant agent and agitator of the student mass." In September, Fidel had a son, who was named after his father.
Fidel successfully graduated from the university, although his political activities distracted him from his studies. Politics has become more important for him jurisprudence. However, he perfectly mastered the information and handed over the "tails" easily. In October 1950, Fidel Castro Ruz was awarded the title of Doctor of Law. He, along with two other lawyers, created a small law office. During this period, Fidel became well acquainted with the life of artisans and peasants, leading their affairs. The most notorious of his work was the collection of compromising materials on the president on Prio Sokarras. He found out that he bought land through his dummies for himself and his relatives. They built villas that were sold at speculative prices. And in the construction of illegally used state-owned equipment and soldiers. Fidel opened a criminal case against the president. Prio Socarras was accused of illegally acquiring property, violating the basic provisions of Cuban labor law, distorting the functions of the army, planting latifundia, etc. Discrediting information was announced through the press and radio. These materials were a serious blow to the government and at the same time increased the political weight of Fidel.
In February, 1952, the year Fidel discovered an even more dangerous business. He accused the authorities of symbiosis with the underworld. He collected unique material and published it that the president personally presents the underworld leaders monthly 18 thousand pesos in envelopes. In addition, the state pays 2 thousand posts in various parts of the state apparatus, where the gangsters only get paid, but do not work. Fidel called the names and those who come to the ministries and departments for money. He named the number of places that each criminal group has: the Polycarpio gang had the right to get 600 bureaucratic positions, the group under Masferrer was 500, the Colorado group 400, etc. Fidel Castro accused the head of the country of being “ bought and sold murders. " This event has the effect of a bombshell. Everyone thought that Fidel would be killed very soon. No one before him dared to announce such information. But he survived, apparently, helped a huge public outcry.
The leadership of the Party of the Cuban People did not approve the candidacy of Fidel Castro as a deputy in the 1952 elections of the year. But Fidel thought differently and turned to ordinary party members for support and received it. Fidel, having put forward his candidacy to the congress, relied on the working district Kayo Ueso, having a great support there. Doubt in his victory was not. Fidel planned to present a number of essentially draft bills to the Congress.
1952 coup of the year
The election of 1952, was approaching on such a high wave of public discontent, it became obvious that the ruling party would not retain power and victory would be won by the orthodox party. Polls indicated that more than half of voters did not support government policies. This did not please neither the authorities, nor the American government and business circles (American businessmen controlled the overwhelming part of the Cuban economy). The corrupt state apparatus, the mafia and the USA needed a “strong hand” that would stop the growth of revolutionary ferment in Cuba.
Such a person was Fulgencio Batista-i-Zaldivar (1901 - 1973). He had a very rich biography. Batista had among the ancestors of the Negroes, and possibly the Chinese. Being a man from a poor family, he began working at a very early age. Batista did a lot of self-education, eagerly read books, attended evening school. His voucher was life in the army. Sergeant Batista became the trade union leader of the Cuban military and headed in September 1933, the so-called. “Sergeant Revolt”, during which the government was removed. Batista officially took the post of Chief of the General Staff of the Cuban Army, led the armed forces, was promoted to colonel, in fact, he was the head of the country until the 1940 year. All uprisings and revolts in his reign were ruthlessly suppressed. Batista was an ardent supporter of the pro-American course of Cuba and established close contacts with the American criminal community. In 1940, Batista officially became president of Cuba, driving the country until 1944. After losing the election in 1944, he led a luxury life in Florida. In 1948, he became a Cuban senator and in 1952, he decided to re-insert his candidacy in the presidential election. But Batista was not popular among the people and was an outsider in the election.
On the night of March 10, 1952, Fulgencio Batista, together with a group of officers loyal to him, arrived at the main military town of Havana, Colombia. There was a big group of military men waiting for him. The conspirators, practically meeting no resistance, occupied the main objects and removed President Carlos Prio from power. Batista declared himself the “interim president” of Cuba on 2 of the year. 27 March 1952, US President Harry Truman recognized the new Cuban government F. Batista as legal. The dictator, by the first act, raised the salary of police officers and the money content of the military. A military-police dictatorship was established in the country.
There was a wave of protests in the country. The leaders of the Federation of University Students arrived at the already ousted president and asked for approval to issue them weapons, to resist the military. Prio promised to give weapons. The university has gathered several hundred people, ready with arms in their hands to defend the freedom of Cuba. Fidel was among them. However, the promised weapon was never sent, Prio did not dare to resist and left the presidential palace. Disappointed people gradually went home. Fidel went to the suburbs of Havana and compiled a manifesto, where he called Batista an executioner of freedom and a usurper. He warned Batista: “By your actions you are sowing not the world, but the seeds of hatred. ... The hour of struggle and self-sacrifice has come. To give life is to lose nothing, but to live in chains is to live in shame. To die for one's homeland is to become immortal! ”Not a single newspaper published the manifesto, fearing reprisals from the new authorities.
On March 11, the congress was dissolved, the legislative power passed to the Council of Ministers. Constitutional guarantees have been temporarily canceled. In April, 1952, Batista introduced a new constitutional law. Batista turned Havana into a "Latin American Las Vegas." His mafia buddies got huge profits, putting all tourist and entertainment business in the state under their control. Gangs abducted girls for brothels, of which there were several thousand in Havana alone. The conditions of the “work” in the brothels were so heavy that the average life expectancy of prostitutes in them was 7 years.
American firms controlled more than two thirds of the economy, including 90% of the mining industry, 90% of the electric industry and telephone companies, 80% of utilities, 80% of fuel consumption, half of the sugarcane crops, etc. A large part of the land belonged to large landowners- latifundistam. About 0,5% landowners had in their hands more than a third of the land fund. And in the largest lantifundia, only about 10% of the land was cultivated. Until 200, thousands of peasant families were landless. Unemployment at Batiste reached a record high of 40%. Prostitution has become a mass phenomenon, reaching a large proportion of women, especially in urban areas. Girls and women were forced to sell their bodies in order to earn themselves and their families a piece of bread for dinner. Cuba was an example of a huge social stratification, where the brilliance of hotels and casinos hid terrible poverty of the majority of the population.
Fidel 24 March finished work on a document where he summarized the crimes of the Batista regime and demanded his criminal punishment. The case was submitted to the Havana court on particularly important and urgent matters. Fidel Castro, referring to the current legislation, listed the articles violated by Batista. Thus, the article 147 for actions aimed at changing the form of government and the constitution, was provided from 6 to 10 years of imprisonment. According to Fidel, Batista, in the aggregate, committed unlawful acts for more than 100 years in prison. Fidel Castro demanded that Batista be brought to justice. It was an open call to the regime. Fidel raised publicly the question of the legality of the armed struggle against the Batista criminal regime. The authorities did not respond to this demarche. Apparently, the young lawyer did not seem dangerous to them. Behind him there was no political organization, no influential representatives of the business community, no means, no influential friends. His potential was underestimated.
Slums in Havana, near the baseball stadium. In the background is an advertisement for a nearby casino (1954 year).
To be continued ...