Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926 in BirÃÂ¡n, Cuba. He was the third of seven children born to Angel Castro y Argiz and Lina Ruz Gonzales. His father owned the large sugar plantation where his family lived. During his early school years, Fidel proved to be an intellectually-gifted student, although he was more interested in sports than schoolwork. He attended a high school run by Jesuit priests. He often caused trouble because of his arrogance and his violent temper. In 1945, Fidel enrolled in the prestigious University of Havana, where he soon became involved in politics.
In the mid-1940s, RamÃÂ³n Grau San MartÃÂn of the AutÃÂ©ntico Party was the president of Cuba. His government was full of corruption, favoring the interests of the few rich people while ignoring the suffering of the poor. Student gangs and violent shoot-outs were common in opposition to the government. Castro participated in these demonstrations and made fiery speeches that attracted many, urging them to rise up against oppression.
In 1947, Castro joined the Ortodoxo Party formed by Eduardo (Eddy) ChibÃÂ¡s. The Ortodoxo Party exposed government corruption and demanded social reform. It also aimed at building a strong sense of Cuban nationalism by reducing the U.S.' influence over Cuba.
On August 5, 1951, ChibÃÂ¡s shot himself in the stomach and died. Castro decided to run in the congressional elections on 1952, but his campaigns and speeches came to nothing because General Batista seized power illegally and declared himself dictator of Cuba. The U.S. government supported Batista because they believed that he would promote trade and oppose the Communists. Castro became convinced that the dictator must be overthrown and democracy restored.
Castro formed an underground organization against Batista. He devised a daring and risky plan to capture the Moncada Barracks, the second...