Fidel Castro

Cuba's Ruthless Dictator

Essential Question

How have the characteristics and actions of Fidel Castro affected Cuba in a negative way?

Characteristics of A Totalitarian Leader

Fidel Castro was born in 1927. When Castro was younger he was an excellent athlete. He was named the all around athlete of Cuba from 1943-1944. During his high school years he ran track, played soccer and baseball. He was a baseball pitcher in college at the University of Havana. He was a lot more athletic than the average person. Castro was determined to improve Cuba after taking power. He sent students and teachers from the cities like Havana and Santiago to the rural countryside, and increased the literacy rate from 77 percent to 94 percent. Castro improved healthcare by redistributing the nation's doctors by taking them out of cities and dispersing them into rural areas. He instated a free government healthcare program for all citizens of Cuba. Doctors didn't like the program because it had a drastic effect in improving the quality of Cuba's healthcare. Castro was for the people and that is how he gained their trust.

"One of the most polarizing dictators of the 20th century" (

Ruthless Leader

Castro used the trust that he gained from the people in his favor to become extremely powerful. Castro had oppostition removed with increasing severity, through jail sentences and executions throughout his rule. Fidel eliminated elections under the excuse that political competition would destroy the Cuban people's sense of national unity, he allowed the USSR to have nuclear missile launch sites in Cuba in 1961, which caused a confrontation that brought the world the closest that it's ever been to a nuclear war. For decades Cuba recieved support from the USSR but in the early 1980s USSR began to decline the economy in Cuba. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans began to illegally leave Cuba for America. Since the 1990's the economy of Cuba has been in a total state of chaos, with much of the nation living in poverty. Castro stayed in power as long as his health allowed until his brother took over power from him in 2008. While plotting against Batista, Castro expressed his belief that only a violent revolution would overthrow the corrupt regime. Castro led a 123 man attack on his first attempt to overthrow Batista's regime but failed miserabley. 8 men were killed by Batista's soldiers and 80 who were captured got executed. Castro and Che Guevara led 82 men in another attempted revolution. The fighters managed to gain strength slowly by gaining support from the public until Fidel's army was strong enough to march into Havana and send Batista into exile. Castro's infamy is due to some of his actions while in power. Fidel Castro nationalized almost all of the land in Cuba immediately after taking power, including 850 million dollars worth of land that was owned by the United States. This instantly started a years-long confrontation with the United States. Also right after taking power, Castro tried and executed 600 members of the Batista regime. Although being known as a corrupt dictator, Fidel Castro's entire career was founded on his desire to fight the inequality and poverty in Cuban society. When Castro first became a lawyer he did not make much money because he purposely took cases from poor clients. In an effort to fight against corruption and poverty Castro joined the Cuban People's Party. Fidel was able to take over Cuba because he started a grass roots movement against the Batista regime. Castro gave a speech to gain support from the people of Cuba after being arrested. He was on a public trial and was imprisoned for 15 years. Batista released Castro from prison because of pressure from the general public. Castro was able to persuade people to support his revolution by helping local farmers and treating Batista's soldiers so well that entire military units were switching over to Castro's side. His army grew from a small force of 82 men to the majority of Cuba within a few months because of his power of persuasion and leadership.
Profile of Fidel Castro

Dictatorial Qualities

Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary turned dictator, had an impact not only on Cuba but on the world. "One of the most polarizing dictators of the 20th century" ( Castro force people to believe in his beliefs. At first people thought that he was for the people but then he turned into this ruling dictator. This video shows the qualities of a dictator that Castro had. Castro had a strong image and he was a great speaker. He used his study of law to his advantage and took over Batista. He was able to become a dictator because of his power of persuasion and leadership.

Absolute Power

Societal Control

Totalitarian Leader

Ruthless Leader

Opposition Eliminator

Work Cited

" Fidel Castro Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - ." Famous Biographies & TV Shows - . N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2012. <>.

" Fidel Castro: Life of the Cuban Leader - YouTube ." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. . N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2012. <>.

"Fidel Castro Biography - life, family, parents, story, history, school, mother, young, son, old, information, born." Encyclopedia of World Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2012. <>.