Fidel Castro: Cuba’s Transformative Leader
It is understandable that at first glance, Castro’s name and history might give off feelings of anger, fear or contempt. However, as polarizing as his ideals and actions were, Fidel Castro protected Cuba from other countries and made the small island country into a very educated one that plays a crucial role in world affairs.
As Cuba’s Prime Minster, Castro was met with discomfort by the American government and was the target of several military tactics such as assassination and counter-revolution. This sided Castro with the Soviet Union, and with his permission, Cuba stored nuclear missiles in tow, sparking the Cold War. While the actions of Castro at this point are alarming, they were pivotal in making Cuba a respected, if not, feared territory. Castro’s conversion of Cuba into a socialist state increased the country’s economy greatly and influenced Cuban healthcare and education.
Even in periods of struggle within Cuba, such as in 1969 where hurricane damage wrecked Cuba’s agricultural output, civilians of Cuba insisted Castro stay in power, despite his offer to resign for the people. After the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1979, Castro was selected as NAM president. Shortly after, he gave a speech to the United Nation’s General Assembly pertaining to the world’s rich and poor nations that was well received by other world leaders. In the years to come, Cuba would struggle with on and off economic problems, but Castro’s dedication to the country led the nation to a good place. Two years before his death, Fidel Castro received the Confucius Peace Prize for a peaceful approach of the nation’s issues with the United States and his determination to prevent nuclear war. Cuba may still be a small country, but it has a very profound place on this world in large part because of the efforts of Fidel Castro. ~F. Rivera
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