Sunday, September 19, 2010
The charismatic leader of a land reform program in Cuba. Castro led his rebels into Havana in January 1959 and swiftly introduced a Marxist regime, with catastrophic economic consequences. Having originally enjoyed an advantageous relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency while conducting guerrilla operations in the Sierra Madre mountains, Castro soon became a target for assassination, and attempts were made to recruit Mafia hit men to administer botulism and a variety of lethal toxins. None of the plots succeeded, and following the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, his future as the permanent leader of Cuba’s revolution was guaranteed. Castro was encouraged by the Soviet Union to export Cuban military expertise to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Bolivia, and Angola.