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Timeline : Fidel Castro

Timeline : Fidel Castro   submitted on Tue, 02/19/2008 - 12:47 in Politics Group by Serginho

Timeline : Fidel Castro



Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, President of Cuba from 1976 until February 24, 2008. Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959 and held it almost  five decades, becoming one of the world's longest-ruling leaders.

1902 - Cuba becomes independent with Tomas Estrada Palma as its president; however, the Platt Amendment keeps the island under US protection and gives the US the right to intervene in Cuban affairs.

December 1903: The treaty leasing Guantanamo Bay to the United States for use as a military fueling station is signed in Havana.

1906-09 - Estrada resigns and the US occupies Cuba following a rebellion led by Jose Miguel Gomez.

1909 - Jose Miguel Gomez becomes president following elections supervised by the US, but is soon tarred by corruption.

1912 - US forces return to Cuba to help put down black protests against discrimination.

1924 - Gerado Machado institutes vigorous measures, forwarding mining, agriculture and public works, but subsequently establishing a brutal dictatorship.

1925 - Socialist Party founded, forming the basis of the Communist Party.

Aug. 13, 1926: Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is born out of wedlock on a sugar plantation Biran, Cuba , his father was the owner, his mother was the housemaid.

1933: Gerado Machado's dictatorial regime is overthrown in a military coup led by Sgt. Fulgencio Batista.

1934 - The US abandons its right to intervene in Cuba's internal affairs, revises Cuba's sugar quota and changes tariffs to favour Cuba

1944: Batista retires and is succeeded by Ramon Gray San Martin.

1945: Castro attends the University of Havana Law School and becomes embroiled in the turbulent student politics gripping a Latin America rebelling against US influence.

1950: Marries Mirta Diaz Balart, graduates from law school and opens a private law practice in Havana representing largely poor clients.


1952: Castro's plans to run for the House of Representatives are disrupted as Fulgencio Batista overthrows the government of President Carlos Prio Socarras and  seizes  power after an eight-year retirement and presides over an oppressive and corrupt regime..  .

July 26, 1953: Amid growing anger at the Batista regime, Castro organizes a rebellion and leads a disastrous attack attacking Batista's largest military outpost, the Moncada Barracks near Santiago with 100 supporters. The revolt is unsuccessful and Castro is arrested.

October 1953: After a three-month trial, Castro is sentenced to 15 years in prison for his part in the attacks on the Moncada Barracks

May 1955: After two years, Castro is granted amnesty and released from prison. He goes into exile in Mexico where he meets Che Guevara

While in Mexico, Castro founds the 26th of July movement, named after the failed offensive on the Moncada Barracks that led to his imprisonment.

1956 - Castro lands in eastern Cuba from Mexico and takes to the Sierra Maestra mountains where, aided by Ernesto "Che" Guevara, he wages a guerrilla war.His revolutionary movement grows in popularity.

1958: The United States withdraws its military assistance to the Batista regime.

Jan. 1, 1959: . Castro leads a 9,000-strong guerrilla army into Havana, forcing Batista to flee. In the following week, a new government is formed and Castro arrives, assuming the post as commander in chief of the armed forces. Castro is  later sworn in as the Prime Minister of  Cuba his brother, Raul, becomes his deputy and Guevara becomes third in command

One of his first acts is to limit landholdings to four square kilometres and ban foreign ownership. Within a year he has drifted away from the rest of Latin America, where revolutions never happened and sealed an oil deal with the Soviet Union, which US-owned refineries refused to process. Castro nationalises refineries, US breaks off relations.

June 1960: All US businesses in Cuba are nationalised without compensation. US breaks off diplomatic relations with Havana. .Castro nationalizes an estimated $850 million worth of U.S. property and businesses after President Eisenhower slashes the import quota for


1961 The Bay of Pigs Invasion Summary:  US sponsors an abortive invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs; Castro proclaims Cuba a communist state and begins to ally it with the USSR:

April 14, 1961: Castro describes his revolution as socialist.

April 15, 1961: The U.S. military bombs Cuban airfields.

April 17, 1961: Hoping to incite a popular uprising against Castro's government, a force of about 1,400 Cuban exiles -- who are trained, financed and commanded by the CIA l-- land at Playa Giron in the Bay of Pigs. President Kennedy cancels official U.S. military support for the operation at the last minute.

April 21, 1961: Castro's forces successfully defend the shore, capturing the invading exiles.

1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis.: Summary: Cuban missile crisis ignites when, fearing a US invasion, Castro agrees to allow the USSR to deploy nuclear missiles on the island. The crisis was subsequently resolved when the USSR agreed to remove the missiles in return for the withdrawal of US nuclear missiles from Turkey. Tensions between US and Cuba mount

Feb. 7, 1962: In continued response to Cuba's nationalization of American property, the United States imposes a trade embargo against Cuba.

Oct. 14, 1962: A U-2 spy-plane mission discovers missile sites in Cuba.

Oct. 22, 1962: President Kennedy announces the presence of tactical missile sites in Cuba.

Oct. 27, 1962: An American U-2 spy plan is shot down over Cuba, killing the pilot.

Oct. 28, 1962: After tense negotiations with the United States, Khrushchev agrees to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba. In return, the United States agrees not to invade Cuba and to remove missiles from Turkey.

1965 - Cuba's sole political party renamed the Cuban Communist Party.

Dec. 1, 1965: The United States begins an airlift of residents seeking to leave Cuba.

Nov. 2, 1966: Almost 125,000 Cubans living in the United States apply for permanent residency after President Johnson grants amnesty to Cuban immigrants who arrived in the country after Jan. 1, 1959.

April 6, 1973: The Cuban airlift ends after bringing more than 260,000 Cuban immigrants to the United States in eight years.

Nov. 11, 1975: Cuban troops are deployed in Angola to support Marxist MPLA. The Angolan independence group M.P.L.A. takes over the capital city of Luanda and declares Angola's independence from Portugal with heavy military assistance from Cuba

Nov. 20, 1975: U.S. intelligence discloses more than eight failed attempts by the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro between 1960 and 1965.

1976: Cuban Communist Party adopts a new constitution institutionalizing socialism. Castro elected  president.

1976-81 - Cuba sends troops first to help Angola's left-wing MPLA withstand a joint onslaught by South Africa, Unita and the FNLA and, later, to help the Ethiopian regime defeat the Eritreans and Somalis

1980: More than 125,000 Cubans flood out of the port of Mariel and make their way to Florida. Over a five-month span, the Mariel boatlift also brings thousands of criminals and mental patients to U.S. shores

1982 - Cuba, together with other Latin American states, gives Argentina moral support in its dispute with Britain over the Falkland islands.

1985 Cuba's military support transformed into civil programmes. Castro one of the leaders of non-aligned nations, despite Soviet ties.

1988: Cuba withdraws its military presence from Angola.

1988 - Cuba agrees to withdraw its troops from Angola following an agreement with South Africa.

1991 - Soviet military advisers leave Cuba following the collapse of the USSR.

1993 - The US tightens its embargo on Cuba, which introduces some market reforms in order to stem the deterioration of its economy. These include the legalisation of the US dollar, the transformation of many state farms into semi-autonomous cooperatives, and the legalisation of limited individual private enterprise.

1994 - Cuba signs an agreement with the US according to which the US agrees to admit 20,000 Cubans a year in return for Cuba halting the exodus of refugees.

1996 - US trade embargo made permanent in response to Cuba's shooting down of two US aircraft operated by Miami-based Cuban exiles.

1998 - The US eases restrictions on the sending of money to relatives by Cuban Americans.

1999 November - Cuban child Elian Gonzalez is picked up off the Florida coast after the boat in which his mother, stepfather and others had tried to escape to the US capsized. A huge campaign by Miami-based Cuban exiles begins with the aim of preventing Elian from rejoining his father in Cuba and of making him stay with relatives in Miami.

1991: Soviet advisers leave Cuba following the collapse of the USSR. Lacking Soviet economic aid, Cuba's economy falls into recession.

Sept. 9, 1994: Cuba and the United States agree to cap the number of Cuban refugees admitted into the United States at 20,000 per year.

January 1996: Brothers to the Rescue, an anti-Castro organization based in Miami, uses airplanes to drop fliers over Havana urging citizens to revolt against the government.

Feb. 24, 1996: U.S. trade embargo becomes permanent in response to Cuba shooting down two U.S. aircraft operated by Miami-based Cuban exiles.

January 1998: Pope John Paul II visits Cuba.

November 1999: Six-year-old Elian Gonzalez is found floating off the coast of South Florida after the boat carrying him, his mother and 12 others capsized. His mother drowned in the accident and Elian is put in the custody of family members in Miami.

1999: Castro celebrates 40 years in power.

2000 U.S. House of Representatives approves limited sale of food and medicine to Cuba, revising the Cuban trade embargo.

2000 June - After a high-profile legal dispute, Elian is reunited with his father in Cuba in June 2000.Elian allowed to rejoin his father in Cuba after prolonged court battles.

 2000 December - Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Cuba and signs accords aimed at boosting bilateral ties.

2001 October - Cuba angrily criticises Russia's decision to shut down the the Lourdes radio-electronic centre on the island, saying President Putin took the decision as "a special gift" to US President George W Bush ahead of a meeting between the two.

2001 November - US exports food to Cuba for the first time in more than 40 years after a request from the Cuban government to help it cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Michelle.

2002 January - Prisoners taken during US-led action in Afghanistan are flown into Guantanamo Bay for interrogation as al-Qaeda suspects.

2002 January - Russia's last military base in Cuba, at Lourdes, closes down.

2002 April - Diplomatic crisis after UN Human Rights Commission again criticises Cuba's rights record. The resolution is sponsored by Uruguay and supported by many of Cuba's former allies including Mexico. Uruguay breaks off ties with Cuba after Castro says it is a US lackey.

2002 May - US Under Secretary of State John Bolton accuses Cuba of trying to develop biological weapons, adding the country to Washington's list of "axis of evil" countries.

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2002 May - Former US president Jimmy Carter makes a goodwill visit which includes a tour of scientific centres, in response to US allegations about biological weapons. Carter is the first former or serving US president to visit Cuba since the 1959 revolution.

2002 June - National Assembly amends the constitution to make socialist system of government permanent and untouchable. Castro called for the vote following criticisms from US President George W Bush.

2003 March-April - Crackdown on dissidents draws international condemnation. Seventy-five people are jailed for terms of up to 28 years; three men who hijacked a ferry in an attempt to reach the US are executed.

2003 June - EU halts high-level official visits to Cuba in protest at the country's recent human rights record.

2004 April - The United Nations Human Rights Commission censures Cuba over recent human rights abuses, including the detention of more than 75 political dissidents.. Cuban foreign minister describes resolution - which passed by single vote - as "ridiculous

2004 May - US sanctions restrict US-Cuba family visits and cash remittances from expatriates.

2004 October - President Castro announces ban on transactions in US dollars, and imposes 10% tax on dollar-peso conversions.

2005 January - Havana says it is resuming diplomatic contacts with the EU, frozen in 2003 following a crackdown on dissidents.


2005: Forbes magazine lists Castro among the world's richest people, estimating his net worth at $550 million. In 2006, Forbes increases his estimated worth to $900 million; Castro denies that he benefits from an empire of state-owned enterprises.

2005 May - Around 200 dissidents hold a public meeting, said by organisers to be the first such gathering since the 1959 revolution.

2005 July - Hurricane Dennis causes widespread destruction and leaves 16 people dead.

2006 February - Propaganda war in Havana as President Castro unveils a monument which blocks the view of illuminated messages - some

March 30, 2006: Spanish-language newspapers mistakenly report that Fidel Castro is dead.

July 31, 2006: A statement from the Cuban leader says Castro has undergone surgery for intestinal bleeding and that he is temporarily ceding

of them about human rights - displayed on the US mission building.

2006 July - President Fidel Castro undergoes gastric surgery and temporarily hands over control of the government to his brother, Raul.

2006 December - Fidel Castro's failure to appear at a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of his return to Cuba from exile prompts renewed speculation about his future.

2007 April - A lawyer and a journalist are given lengthy jail terms after secret trials, which rights activists see as a sign of a crackdown on opposition activity.

2007 May - Castro fails to appear at Havana's annual May Day parade. Days later he says he has had several operations.

Anger as the US drops charges against veteran anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles, who is a former CIA operative and Cuba's "Public Enemy No. 1" accused of downing a Cuban airliner.

2007 July - First time since 1959 that Revolution Day is celebrated without Castro present.

Castro issues statement on first anniversary of power handover saying he is fighting for full recovery.

2007 September - Castro gives interview to Cuban TV. It is his first television appearance in more than three months.

2007 December - Castro says in a letter read on Cuban TV that he would not cling to power indefinitely.

2008 February - Castro says he won't accept another term as president when the National Assembly meets next.

Sources NPR, Telegraph, BBC

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