Fidel Castro: A Biography

Fidel Castro: A Biography

Volker Skierka

Language: English

Pages: 488

ISBN: 0745640818

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Fidel Castro is one of the most interesting and controversial personalities of our time – he has become a myth and an icon. He was the first Cuban Caudillo – the man who freed his country from dependence on the USA and who lead his people to rediscover their national identity and pride.

Castro has outlived generations of American presidents and Soviet leaders. He has survived countless assassination attempts by the CIA, the Mafia, and Cubans living in exile. He has become one of the greatest politicians of the 20th Century. His biography, and the history of his country exemplify the tensions between East and West, North and South, rich and poor.

As Castro's life draws to a close, the question as to what will become of Cuba is more important that ever. Will Castro open Cuba to economic reform and democratization, or stick to his old slogan socialism or death?

In this remarkable, up-to-date reconstruction of Castro's life, Volker Skierka addresses these questions and provides an account of the economic, social, and political history of Cuba since Castro's childhood. He draws on a number of little-known sources, including material from the East German communist archives on Cuba, which were until recently inaccessible.

This is an exciting, painstakingly researched, and authortiative account of the life of one of the most extraordinary political figures of our time.

















Christmas Eve was a wonderful thing, because it meant fifteen days of vacation – and not just fifteen days of vacation, but fifteen days of a festive atmosphere and treats: cookies, candy and nougats. We had a lot of them at my house. . . . When that time came, you were always excited, from the time you took the train and then continued on horseback until you finally arrived. . . . The roads were nothing but huge mudholes. During the first few years in my house, there weren’t any cars or even

which on that day were occupied by some 700 troops. At the same time, a second group of 27 men were preparing an attack on the Bayamó Barracks further to the west, in order to close there the narrow road that carried military supplies between the west and east of the island. As it was carnival time, Castro reckoned that many soldiers would either be on leave or be lying drunk in bed. Although an advance guard managed to penetrate the barracks and briefly to pin down a dormitory full of dazed,

all. With the excuse of opposing caudillism, each one attempts more and more to do what he feels like doing. I am not such a fool that I don’t realize this. . . . I will not give up my critical spirit and intuition which have helped me so much to understand situations before.73 Batista, sensing his chance, now mobilized more than 14 battalions or a total of 10,000 soldiers for a general offensive (codenamed Fin de Fidel, “End of Fidel”), which began on May 20, 1958. Three combat forces assailed

fire of war. . . . We struggle against imperialism not in order to die but to make full use of our possibilities, so that in this struggle we win more than we lose and achieve the victory of communism.132 Castro did not want to let matters stand like that in the historical record. The next day, in another letter to Khrushchev, he conceded: I may have tried to say too much in too few lines. We were aware that in the event of a thermonuclear war we would be wiped out. . . . I did not mean to

Mañacas sugarcane plantation, with its 800 hectares of freehold and another 10,000 hectares on leasehold, whose other main sources of income were livestock and timber, as well as a small nickel mine. On the shores of a small lake, half-surrounded by a palm grove, single8 The Young Fidel and double-storey houses had been built on stilts in the Spanish Galician style; they are still preserved today as a kind of museum. The farm had its own post and telegraph office, a dairy, a general store, a

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