Useful Notes / Fidel Castro
El Comandante

"I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action."
Fidel Castro

Born in 1926 to a peasant and conscript from Spain who became a sugar plantation owner in Cuba, Fidel Castro involved himself in revolutionary politics during his days as a law student in Havana. He participated in the attempt to overthrow the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1947, as well as the first, unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Fulgencio Batista, the American-backed dictator of Cuba. He then fled to Mexico, where he met Che Guevara and together they led an uprising against Batista, finally managing to topple him in 1959.

Castro set up a Communist regime with himself as the Glorious Leader, transformed Cuba into a one party communist state and ruled the country as dictator until 2008, when he officially stepped down due to ill health. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Raúl (who has been second-in-command for decades).

The CIA tried in various ways to get rid of Castro, including multiple assassination attempts (including some rather odd methods like exploding cigars), the Bay of Pigs Invasion on 1961, and an economic embargo since 1962 (this is still in effect, though Barack Obama has worked to lighten the restrictions—even allowing visitors to bring home 100 dollars worth of Cuban cigars). Castro was also excommunicated by Pope John XXIII, but he didn't care. Castro was also a central figure in the Cuban Missile Crisis and he was the one player in the incident most ready to launch the missiles if the Americans dared invade, only to be barely restrained by his Soviet partners.

Through the Cold War, Cuba relied on Soviet support, and when that was cut off Cuba faced a major economic crisis (mostly due to a lack of oil). Still, Castro managed to overcome these difficulties through a rigorous re-structuring of the country's economy. Cuba is now a major tourist destination for non-Americans (Americans are forbidden to go to the island by the US government) and much of its economy is based around tourism.

Although Cuba remains a poor country with very limited political and economic freedom, Castro's regime has done much to improve public education, sports and particularly public health. Cuba still exports doctors to many Latino-American countries and has an average life expectancy on par with your average first world country. On the other hand, a lot of basic living commodities are rationed, many buildings are in a poor state of repair and the human rights record of the government is poor (though it has slowly improved over the years and it's record is significantly better than the average dictatorship). The country does have a good rating on the sustainable development index, though this likely has more to do with the poverty than conscious government policy (i.e. they waste little resources because many things are in short supply, and their living standards are low so they don't consume much anyway).

Not as much is known about Castro's personal life, but one of Castro's biographers described the Cuban as being "fiercely hard-working, dedicated, loyal... generous and magnanimous" but also noted that he could be "vindictive and unforgiving" at times. He went on to note that Castro "always had a keen sense of humor and could laugh at himself" but could equally be "a bad loser" who would act with "ferocious rage if he thought that he was being humiliated." There have been claims he has been with around 30,000 women, with his secret police allegedly recruiting many of them.

He's known as a cigar fan, but stopped smoking them on the advice of his doctors in 1985.

Castro is the author of several political books, most of them dealing — as you'd expect — with his problems with capitalism and American foreign policy.

Since Castro is a controversial figure, with many fans and detractors, please use the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment when editing this page.

Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

  • The Generalissimo: Castro is one of the major inspirations for characters that fall under this trope.
  • Iconic Outfit: Almost always portrayed wearing a simple green military uniform, pillbox cap, large beard, and cigar.

Fidel Castro in media.

  • A playable leader in Tropico. The original Presidente and the in-game generals are modelled after him, featuring his signature green uniform, cap hat, beard, and cigars.
  • Sets the plot of Scarface (1983) in motion by releasing a massive number of prisoners off to Florida. He appears onscreen giving the real-life speech on the subject.
  • A segment of The Godfather Part II takes place in Cuba during his uprising against Batista. While he doesn't appear on-screen, he's a major concern for the businessmen and los fidelianos hail his name after his victory.
  • Oliver Stone's Commandante is a documentary film made of interviews with Castro about a diverse range topics.
  • Castro appears in the second episode of The Critic where he is initially depicted as kindhearted and grandfatherly, until Jay Sherman unknowingly insults him. When pointed out that he just insulted 'El Presidente' Castro replies: "Not to worry. I am not the gruff old bear people think I am." The show then cuts away to Jay standing in front of a firing squad with Castro yelling "Shoot to wound, men!"
  • Featured in the Cuban Crisis segment of The Fog of War, in which he's considered a Worthy Adversary by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
  • The first mission of Call of Duty: Black Ops has you assassinate him during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Turns out you got a double - the real Castro shows up at the end, handing the Player Character over to the Russians. He later appears in the Nazi Zombies stage "Five", fighting zombies in the Pentagon alongside Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Robert McNamara. His appearance in Zombies is positively littered with Genius Bonus' and Historical In-Joke's. Amusingly, he gets along pretty well with Nixon.
  • Harmon Rabb meets him in the JAG episode "Florida Straits".
  • Though he never appears in-person, he is an important character in World War Z, and he (and Cuba) emerge from the Zombie Apocalypse arguably in better shape than when the ordeal commenced.
  • Nero: He has a cameo in Het Wonderwolkje ("The Magic Cloud") where he orders to have Nero executed for claiming he is more famous than him.
  • In King of the Hill, he is briefly shown in a flashback where Cotton Hill attempted to assassinate him but failed.
  • In The Simpsons he is about to give in and declare the defeat of Communism, but this is averted after he steals a trillion dollar bill from Mr. Burns.
  • He and Guevara are mentioned in "Indian Girl" by The Rolling Stones from Emotional Rescue:
    Mr. gringo, my father, he ain't no Che Guevara
    And he's fighting the war on the streets of Masaya
    Little Indian girl, where's your father?
    Little Indian girl, where is your momma?
    They're fighting for Mr. Castro in the streets of Angola.
  • In the song "Motorpsycho Nightmare" from Bob Dylan's Another Side From Bob Dylan Dylan purposefully offends a farmer by pretending to like Fidel Castro.
  • The English indie music band Infidel?/Castro! is named after him.
  • Castro shows up in the novel The Man Who Brought The Dodgers Back To Brooklyn during a scene where Dodgers owner Bobby Hanes flies to Cuba to sweet-talk Castro into lending players directly from the Cuban national team. Castro reveals that he was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers of old, considers the New York Yankees a symbol of capitalist decadence, and happily lends Hanes a star slugger.