Top 10 Facts about Cuba’s Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro- Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cuba. This is where Fidel Castro is from. The Cuban leader ruled the country for 47 years- from 1956 to 2006. At that time, the USA had had 10 presidents! He was the world’s longest-serving leader after the Queen of Britain and the King of Thailand. The Cuban leader was a lover of sports and always tried to keep fit, he enjoyed the literary works of the American novelist Ernest Hemmingway, who had a residence in Cuba. 

1. A messy divorce.

Fidel Castro’s wife filed for divorce while he was in prison. Wondering why? While he was locked up, someone mixed up letters he was sending to his wife and those which were meant for his mistress, a Cuban socialite Natalia Ravuelta. The mistress’ letters landed on the wife’s and she divorced him! He had married his wife Mirta Diaz-Balart and they had a son Fidel Angel Castro, who killed himself in 2018 two years after his father’s death. He was rumored to have had relations with other women with whom they had more children! 

Fidel Castro was born out of wedlock, to an immigrant sugar cane farmer father, and a mother who was (his father’s) household servant, Lina Ruz Gonzales. 

2. Didn’t shave to save time

Looking at Fidel Castro’s beard, you would think that he never shaved because he wanted to look like a militia since he was living in the forests. But no. Due to his busy schedule, he reckoned that since shaving took about 15 minutes of someone’s time every morning, 5,000 minutes a year was a massive waste of time that he could use doing more important things! I guess the saying ‘time is money made sense for him!

3. He gave very long speeches 

Image: Wikimedia

Fidel Castro would give speeches that lasted hours. He actually holds a Guinness Book of World Records title for the Longest speech which at the United Nations on September 26th, 1960 which lasted 4 hours 29 minutes! In 1986, after he was re-elected to serve as president for another five years, he gave the longest speech which was at the III Communist Party Congress and the speech was 7 hours 10 Minutes, in Havana Cuba!!!!!

4. Death threats 

He must have not been a favorite of many and must have made quite a number of enemies. 634 are the number of times Fidel Castro says people made attempts on his life. Who might be behind these you ask? Well, he claimed that the American Central Intelligence Agency tried to kill him using poison, bombs, toxic cigars, chemically tainted diving suits and even tried to undermine his authority by making his beard fall off! Due to the many threats, Castor moved around a lot and lived in secret places, his countrymen did not even know where he lived until his retirement. 

5. Holy cow! 

Ubre Blanca (the white udder) was the name of one of Fidel Castro’s most prized possessions. The cow produced an astonishingly high amount of milk, much to the surprise of many. Fidel owned the cow in the 1980s, who produced 110 Liters of milk in a day, and she became a propaganda tool for Cuba’s agriculture. 

6. Stopped smoking. 

Image: Pixabay

‘The best thing you can do with this cigar is to give it to your enemy’. Fidel Castro was a big fan of the Cuban cigar, and smoking was his thing, but in 1985, he gave it up because of health complications. 

7. Military-like retirement home

After handing over power to his younger brother Raul in2006, Fidel Castro retired to one of his top-secret investment homes, a military-style fortress in Punto Cero. The 75 acre- home had an orchard, a greenhouse facility, and even had cows. It is said he owned a lot more property in Cayo Piedra, La Caleta del Rosario and La Desaeda. Some of these residences had marinas, orchards, and hunting spots. 

8. Meetings with prominent people.

Image: Time Magazine

Castro met three Catholic popes in his life at his home in Punto Cero.in 1988, he met John Pope 11, in 2012, he met Pope Benedict and in 2015, he met Pope Francis. What is fascinating, is that even though he met them, he had talks and exchanged religious books with them, though he was an atheist. He was, however from the Jesuit background. He also met numerous dignitaries from around the world, before his death at age 90.

9. He was a workaholic 

Fidel Casto

Fidel_Castro Source: Wikimedia Commons

Castro used to work extremely long hours, usually going to be in the wee hours of the morning. He was known to even host meetings with dignitaries from other countries at 2 AM or 3 AM and his strategy was that, at that time, they would be so tired, he would have an advantage over the discussions he was having with them! Very strategic!

10. World’s most influential Personality

 

He, in 2012, was named the World’s Most Influential Personalities of all time. He was a very controversial man; some saw him as a tyrant, a dictator, a socialist and anti-imperialist champion, an influential man who oversaw human rights abuses, his administration saw a lot of Cubans leave, others attribute him to the improvement of Cuba’s economy. Cuba might be a small Caribbean island country, but Castro put it on the world map; he was known all over and maybe, that is why he was Time Magazine’s 2012 World Most Influential Personality.  

The Cuban communist dictator, who was born to a wealthy landowner had 11 children from 5 different marriages and relationships. His firstborn son Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart also known as Fidelito was a nuclear scientist and who died in 2018. There is a Castro Museum named after him on the sugarcane farm he was born in, in the small town of Biran in Cuba.