A name that many are aware of, Fidel Castro was born in 1926. He has made his mark as a leading figure in the Cuban Revolution, for which he worked alongside Che Guevara, and for serving as president of Cuba for over thirty years. In 2008 he passed his power to his younger brother Raul Castro.
Fidel Castro came from a wealthy family and had a promising upbringing. He was known as an intelligent student who also excelled at sports. It didn't take long for him to get involved in politics, which he began to do during his university years. He began focusing on the unsettled Cuban politics at the time, and soon – in 1947 – joined the political party Partido Ortodoxo, which, focused on its condemnation of corruption, had begun to gain many followers.
On a lighter note, he was married in 1948 to Mirta Díaz Balart and this gave Castro access to many influential individuals of the Cuban circles. It was in 1952 that Castro put himself in the spotlight of politics when he became a candidate for a seat in parliament. It wasn't more than a year later that he was first attempting his revolution tactics with the Moncada Barracks incident that ended in failure on a large scale.
Following this failure – and a short time spent in prison – Castro created the 26th of July movement and was introduced to Che Guevara, who provided knowledge and strategy that helped him shape the movement effectively. December 2, 1956 marked another attack that resulted in heavy losses for the group. Despite failures, his revolutionary movement was beginning to gain the attention of the people and supporters emerged.
It is ironic that he had been quoted saying that he wanted to rid Cuba of its dictatorship, since, following his rise to power, he is often described as one himself. In Operation Verano, Castro's troops were outnumbered, yet still managed to snatch victory with a superb use of guerrilla-style counter attack; this really gave Batista's troops' morale a beating. Additional victories for the revolutionaries, such as the battle of La Plata, were signs that Batista's regime was crumbling. Originally, when Batista fled the country and his government was overthrown, the revolutionaries put José Miro Cardona on power, with Castro saying "power does not interest me." However, unhappy with the way things were being run, he would eventually placed himself on the decision-making seat.
His later years in government caused several issues, as many of his policies – such as abolishing elections – drew criticism, human rights violations were committed and his strong views alienated many of his own people.