Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Key facts about Fidel Castro

Published:Sunday | November 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM
In this January 1959 file photo, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro addresses a crowd in a park in front of the presidential palace in Havana, Cuba. Former President Fidel Castro, who led a rebel army to an improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his half century rule, has died at age 90. The bearded revolutionary, who survived a crippling US trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died eight years after ill health forced him to formally hand power over to his younger brother Raul, who announced his death late last Friday on state television.
In this September 20, 1960 file photo, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro, center holding a cigar, stands with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, center left, outside Hotel Theresa in Harlem, New York. Castro was in the US during his first visit to the United Nations after coming to power. The man at left of Khrushchev is Capt. Antonio Nunez Jimenez, chief of the Cuban Agrarian Institute.

- January 1, 1959 Castro's rebels take power as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba.

- June 1960 Cuba nationalises US-owned oil refineries after they refuse to process Soviet oil. Nearly all other US businesses expropriated by October.

October 1960 Washington bans exports to Cuba, other than food and medicine.

April 16, 1961 Castro declares Cuba a socialist state.

April 17, 1961 Bay of Pigs: CIA-backed Cuban exiles stage failed invasion.

- February 7, 1962 Washington bans all Cuban imports.

- October 1962 US blockade forces removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba. US President John F. Kennedy agrees privately not to invade Cuba.

- March 1968 Castro's government takes over almost all private businesses.

- April 1980 Mariel boatlift: Cuba says anyone can leave; some 125,000 Cubans flee.

- December 1991 Collapse of Soviet Union devastates Cuban economy.

- August 1994 Castro declares he will not stop Cubans trying to leave; some 40,000 take to the sea heading for United States.

- March 18, 2003 75 Cuban dissidents sentenced to prison.

- July 31, 2006 Castro announces he has had operation, temporarily cedes power to brother Raul.

- February 19, 2008 Castro resigns as president.

- July 2010 Castro re-emerges after years in seclusion, visiting a scientific institute, giving a TV interview, talking to academics and even taking in a dolphin show at the aquarium.

- April 19, 2011 Castro is replaced by his brother Raul as first secretary of the Communist Party, the last official post he held. The elder Castro made a brief appearance at the Congress, looking frail as a young aide guided him to his seat.

- April 19, 2016 Castro delivers a valedictory speech at the Communist Party's seventh Congress, declaring that "soon I'll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain."

- November 25, 2016 Fidel Castro dies.