2016-11-26 07:53:25 UTC
the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied U.S. efforts
to topple him, has died, Cuban television said on Saturday. He was 90.
A lawyer who became a Marxist guerrilla, Fidel Castro survived numerous
assassination plots by US intelligence services including one extraordinary
plan to poison his cigar.
Castro - rarely seen in public without his trademark military fatigues and
cap - was famous for long rambling speeches filled with historical
But despite the fact these speeches would often drag on for hours, thousands
would turn out to hear their leader.
Born in Biran, Cuba, into a wealthy farming family, he was educated at
Jesuit schools before studying law at the University of Havana.
After working as a lawyer for three years, he planned to stand for
Parliament in 1952, but the Government was overthrown in a coup staged by
General Fulgenco Batista.
Castro accused the US-backed Batista of violating the constitution and led
an attack on his Moncada Barracks in the Oriente province.
He was taken prisoner and jailed for 15 years, but was released in a general
amnesty in 1955 before going into exile in Mexico and the US.
He later returned to Cuba with just 12 men, including Argentinian-born
revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and fought a guerrilla battle against
Batista's forces before eventually toppling him in 1959.
Within months he had embraced the former Soviet Union and fallen out with
the US, seizing American-owned property and companies in Cuba.