Fidel Castro's Political Highlights

Timeline created by Robert641
  • Castro leads rebels in an attack on the Moncada army barracks.

    Lawyer Fidel Castro leads rebels in an attack on the Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Death toll: 69 attachers, 19 soldiers and police. Castro is captured,
  • Castro gets amnesty and leaves for exile in Mexico.

  • Castro leaves Mexico with 81 followers.

    Castro leaves Mexico with 81 followers aboard the yacht Granam. After a disastrous landing in eastern Cuba Dec. 2, he and other survivors reach the Sierra Maestra mountains and launch a guerrilla war against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship.
  • Batista resigns and flees Cuba.

    Batista resigns and flees Cuba.
    Batista resigns and flees Cuba. Castro leads victorious rebel troops into Havana.
  • Summary executions begin for scores of people.

    Summary executions begin for scores of people Castro calls “war criminals.”
  • Castro visit’s the United States.

    Castro visit’s the United States, denies he’s a communist and says Cuba won’t confiscate foreigners’ properties. Promises free elections and good U.S. relations.
  • Government expropriates all private land holdings over 3,200 acres.

    Government expropriates all private land holdings over 3,200 acres.
  • Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Anastas Mikoyan visits Cuba.

    Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Anastas Mikoyan visits Cuba. The government starts to seize control of news media; established diplomatic relations with Moscow; nationalized U.S. and British oil companies; expropriates American-owned sugar refineries; gets its first military aid from Moscow; establishes the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution; and nationalizes commercial real estate.
  • Cuban exiles land at the Bay of Pigs and are defeated.

    Cuban exiles trained and equipped by the CIA land at the Bay of Pigs and are defeated. Castro declares the revolution socialist and later says there will be no elections.
  • Nationalizes education system.

  • Castro declares he is a Marxist-Leninist.

    Castro declares he is a Marxist-Leninist and has been since the beginning.
  • U.S. trade embargo against Cuba goes into effect

    U.S. trade embargo against Cuba goes into effect
  • Food and soap rationing begin.

    Food and soap rationing begin.
  • Soviet missiles are discovered in Cuba.

    Soviet missiles are discovered in Cuba. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agrees to withdraw them after a tense face-off with U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
  • Government allows exiles to sail to the port of Camarioca.

    Government allows exiles to sail to the port of Camarioca to pick up relatives. About 5,000 Cubans reach Florida. President Johnson then establishes “Freedom Flights” from Varadero to Miami. Some 260,560 Cubans reach U.S. soil by the time the program ends in April 1973.
  • Castro accepts failure to harvest sugar cane.

    Castro accepts responsibility for failure of all-out effort to harvest 10 million tons of sugar cane.
  • Government established harsh ideological restrictions.

    Government established harsh ideological restrictions on education and culture.
  • U.S. starts secret talks with Cuban officials.

    U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger starts secret talks with Cuban officials.
  • Castro sends about 18,000 soldiers to Angola. Washington suspends the talks.

    Castro sends about 18,000 soldiers to Angola. Washington suspends the talks.
  • New constitution takes effect.

    New constitution that institutionalizes Communist Party control takes effect.
  • Cuban soldiers are sent to defend Ethiopia.

    About 10,000 Cuban soldiers are sent to defend Ethiopia against Somali attack,
  • Release of 3,900 political prisoners and exiles allow to visit.

    Castro and Cuban exiles negotiate the release of 3,900 political prisoners and allow exiles to visit relatives in Cuba.
  • 10,000 Cubans crowd into the Peruvian Embassy in Havana.

    More than 10,000 Cubans crowd into the Peruvian Embassy in Havana. Castro says anyone can leave through the port of Mariel. About 125,000 Cubans reach Florida by late September.
  • U.S. charges Cuban officials with smuggling drugs,

    U.S. federal grand jury in Miami charges four high-ranking Cuban government officials with smuggling drugs.
  • Cuba suspends payments on its $3.5 billion foreign debt.

    Cuba suspends payments on its $3.5 billion foreign debt.
    Cuba suspends payments on its $3.5 billion foreign debt.
  • Castro maintaining the ideological purity of the revolution.

    In the face of reforms by Soviet lender Mikhail Gorbachev, Castro calls for maintaining the ideological purity of the revolution within Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy,
  • Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa is executed.

    Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa, former head of Cuban troops who fought in Angola and Ethiopia, is executed along with three other officers convicted of drug trafficking.
  • Cuba imposes severe rationing.

    With Moscow halting $4 billion to $6 billion in annual subsidies, Cuba imposes severe rationing. Castro declares “a special period in time of peace.”
  • Cuban Communist Party approves foreign investment.

    Fourth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party approves foreign investment.
  • Castro announces U.S. dollars will be permitted to circulate.

    Castro announces that U.S. dollars will be permitted to circulate freely in Cuba, restrictions lifted on exile visits.
  • Castro’s daughter, Alina Fernandez Revuelta, 37, flees Cuba.

  • Thirty-two people drown when a tugboat capsizes.

    Thirty-two people drown when a tugboat with 63 aboard capsizes north of Havana while trying to flee the island. Survivors say the tugboat was rammed by government ships.
  • Balsero Crisis

    Hundreds of Havava residents stage the first street protest against the goverment in 35 years. Castro says anyone can leave, sparking the balsero crisis. At least 30,000 leave the island,
  • Cuba agrees to curb the exodus of rafters.

    Cuba agrees to curb the exodus of rafters, and the United State agrees to grant legal entry to at least 20,000 Cubans a year.
  • Cuban air force fighters shoot down two Miami-based planes.

    Cuban air force fighters shoot down two Miami-based Brothers to the Rescue planes, killing four. U.S. Congress quickly passes the Helms-Burton Act tightening the embargo.
  • Cuba frees some 300 prisoners.

    Following Pope John Paul II’s visit and request, Cuba frees some 300 prisoners.
  • New laws extending death penalty are imposed.

    TNational Assembly approves harsh new laws extending the death penalty to a broad range of common and political crimes, and requiring 20-year jail terms for supporting hostile U.S. policies.
  • Elian Gonzalez is found clinging to an inner tube.

    5-year-old Elian Gonzalez is found clinging to an inner tube off the coast of Fort Lauderdale in a rafter tragedy, sparking an international custody dispute. After a seven-month battle, Elian returns to Cuba with his father.
  • Oswaldo Paya delivers The Varela Project.

    Oswaldo Paya delivers The Varela Project, a petition urging the government to abandon its authoritarian system signed by 11,020 Cubans to the Assembly.
  • Former President Carter visits Cuba.

    Former President Carter visits Cuba and in an uncensored TV appearance calls for an end to the U.S. embargo and appeals to Castro to allow democratic changes.
  • Castro leads a march along Havana’s seaside Malison.

    In an apparent rebuke, Castro leads a march of thousand along Havana’s seaside Malison, rejecting any political opening. Eight million Cubans sign a petition declaring the socialist system, “untouchable.”
  • 75 dissidents are sentenced to prison terms.

    In one of the Cuba’s harshest crackdowns, 75 dissidents are sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 to 28 years after one and two-day trials.
  • Bush administration imposes tighter measures.

    Bush administration imposes tighter measures on travel and cash remittances to the island. Castro responds by announcing that U.S. dollars can no longer be used in Cuba.
  • Castro falls after a speech in Santa Clara, shattering his kneecap.

    Castro falls after a speech in Santa Clara, shattering his kneecap.
  • CIA is convinced Castro suffers from Parkinson's.

    The Miami Herald reports the CIA is convinced Castro suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
  • Castro suffers “intestinal crises” that requires surgery.

    Castro, 79, suffers an “intestinal crises” that requires surgery. He “temporarily” cedes most of his titles to his brother, 75-year-old Raul Castro.
  • Castro says the worst of his health crisis is behind him.

    Castro says the worst of his health crisis is behind him.. Ten days later, Cuba announces he not preside over a Non-Aligned summit in Havana.
  • Castro makes a TV appearance to dispel rumors.

    Castro makes a TV appearance to dispel rumors he’s on his deathbed. “I’m not worried; I have no fear of what may happen.” he said.
  • Photos of Castro meeting with Chinese delegation are released.

    Photos of a healthier Castro meeting with high-level Chinese delegation are released. Later, Chinese media report that the meeting was held in a hospital.
  • A sort-of-autobiography about Castro is published in English.

    My Life: A Spoken Autobiography, a sort-of-autobiography that Castro has described as his written legacy, is published in English.
  • Castro announces he will not seek reelection as President.

    Castro announces he will not seek reelection as president of the ruling council of State.