Cuban Revolution Cold War Biographies

Cuban Revolutionary tribunals
Figure 1.--

Fulgencio Batista

Fidel Castro

Raul Castro

Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez was asked during his forst presidentil bid if he was a Communist. His anser was the same Fidel Castro gave, "I am a humanist." and like Castro, once in power, with the power of the Venezuelan state behinf him, admitted that he was a Communist. Chavez was elected preident of Venezuela (1998). He proved like Castro to be a popular figure even as he steadily dismantelled the Venezuelan economy, leaving the country almost totally dependent on the oil industry. And like Castro, he turned a prpsperous country into a Latin american basketcase. Chavez's election proved to be the savior of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution who with the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991) had lost his major patron and its multi-billion dollar annual subsidy. Chavez began shipping oil to Cuba and proding other support.

Camilio Cienfuegos

Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was born in Havana (1932). Along with Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Juan Almeida Bosque, and Raúl Castro, he was a major figure in the 26th July Movement and a member of the Granma expedition (1956). He was killed in a unexplained air crash after Batista had been defeated (1959). He was a more moderate leader than Castro and aligned with the democratic elements in the movement.

Ernesto 'Che' Guevara (1928-67)

Ernesto 'Che' Guevara became an iconmic figure of Latin American Communism and violent armed struggle. He bcame known simply a 'Che'. He has been described in various ways, including Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and self-described military theorist. There seems to be no appreciation among the Left that dictatorship of the left or the right means societal failure and a source of poverty. Many idealize Che who has become a counter-cultural icon on posters and T-shirts. [Casey, p. 128.] There is, however a murderous legacy thant many seek to ignore or excuse for ideological reasons. [Vargas Llosa] He encoraged Castro's brutally crushing any and all dissent, and concentrating wealth in the hands of a Communist elite. Ernnesto was born in Rosario, Argenina (1928). He studied to be a doctor and as a young student he made motocycle (actually motorized bicycle) trips to other South American countries. Guevara claims that the povery and squalid conditions was the primary experience that radicalized him. There is no doubt the poverty he described in the 1950s was very real. I winessed the same in the 1960s. Cut Che went a step further. He concluded that capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States was the primary reason for that poverty. He became involved Guatemala's social reforms program under President Jacobo Árbenz. The CIA-assisted overthrow and the United Fruit Company's role only strengthened his evolving political ideology. [Guevara] Subswquently he met Raúl and Fidel Castro in Mexico City and joined the 26th of July Movement. He was with them when they sailed to Cuna aboard the Granma to launch a eevolution against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara with Castro;s support rose to prominence among the insurgents. Castro to Comandante (commander) of a second army column, essentialy becoming Castro' second-in-command. It is not entirely clear what Castro saw in him, but his interest in fundamental chabge and lack of interest in a democratic system surrly must havebeen factors. Time Magazine sescrined him as as 'Castro's brain'. ["Castro's brain"] Guevara would play an imprtant role in the guerrilla campaign that deposed Batista. ith Castro's success, Guevara was given several key assigments in Cuba's new revolutionary government. Revolutionary Tribunls tried and convicted Batisa loyalists. Guevara oversaw the appeals and firing squads executing Batista loyalists. [Taibo, p. 267.] He then oversaw the rural agrarian land reform as Minister of Industries. He was put in chrge of a successful nationwide literacy campaign. He then served as the National Bank president and instructional director for Cuba's Armed Forces, Guevara was a the center of transformung the Batista dictatorship into the Castro dictarorship. In this he was very successful. A he helped buld a military capable of repelling the American-financed Bay of Pigs invsion. [Kellner, pp. 69–70.] He also played a key role in seizing private property and building a socialist planned economy. Only the result was economic chaos and turning Cuba from a country with some poor people into a country in which virtually everyone was poor. Castro and Guevara essentially eliminated social inequities by making everyone poor. Despite Revolutionary Cuba's economic failure, Guevara began traveling the globe the world as a diplomat for Communist Revolution. He also play a key role in convincing oviet Premier Nikta Khruschev to depluy nuclear-armed ballistic missiles to Cuba, precipitated the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. [Anderson, pp. 526–530.] Cementing his revolutionry credenbtials, Guevara was a prolific writer and diarist. He composed a seminal manual on guerrilla warfare as wekll as a best-selling memoir about his youthful continental motorcycle journey. His central belief was that Marxism–Leninism was the key to building a just society where workers and peasants lived comfortable lives. And that imperialism, colonialism, and monopoly capitalism were the cause of poverty. [Anderson, pp. 526–530.] The only problem with Guevara's asessment is that the economic reforms he orcestrated caused economic chaos and that production declind. Cuba went from a medium-income country to one of the poorest in the world, kept alive by massive Soviet assistance. Guvara also claimed that the United states exploited Cuba abd other countries. It was then difficult to explain after the United states cut economic ties that Cuba not only did not benefit, but got progresively more poor. Fidel's and Guevara's ideals as one historian explains simply "rehashed centralized power'. It meant creating a leftist caudillo, but with ultimately the same impact--pbverty nd hr upresion of baic human rights. [Vargas Llosa] Guevara had a huge public profile in Cuba. But then he precipitously left (1965). It is not exavtly clear why. There are several theories, all unproveable. It is widely believed that his relation with Castro were deteroriating. This can not be proved nor can the issues be known with any certainty. Castro may not have appreciated Guevara's emense popularity. Guevara wanted a more aggressuve effort to promote revolution. Castro seems to hve been desenchanted fowith the economic chaos and failure of Guevara's economic management. For weharever reason, Guevara embarked on new revolutionary adventures, first in Congo-Kinshasa and then Bolivia. Since the failure of his Boliviam guerrila campaign and execution, Guevara has become a legendary figure in the couter-culture world. Alberto Korda photograph which he titled 'Guerrillero Heroico' has been cited by the Maryland Institute College of Art as 'the most famous photograph in the world.

John Kennedy

Nikita Khruschev

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrischev in his menoirs varies from comlete fiction to revealing honesty. His decription of the Hungarian is a ludiicous travesty. His desription of the Cuban Missle Crisus, however is surprisingly truthful. It was not in his mind a provicative agression, but defending a fratenal sivilist people from American agression. He truly believed in Communism and felt it was his dutyu to preserv it in Cuba.


Anderson, Jon Lee. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (New York: Grove Press, 1997).

Casey, Michael. Che's Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image (Vintage: 2009).

Guevara, Ernesto. 'On Revolutionary medicine,' Speech to the Cuban Militia (August 19, 1960).

Kellner, Douglas. Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Chelsea House Publishers, 1989), 111p.

Taibo II, Paco Ignacio. Guevara, Also Known as Che (St Martin's Griffin: 1999). 2nd edition.

Vargas Llosa, Alvaro. The Che Guevara Myth: And the Future of Liberty (The Independent Institute: 2006), 88p.

"Castro's brain," Time Magzine (1960).


Navigate the Children in History Coldar Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
Return to the Main Cuban Communist Revolution page]
Return to the Main Cuban Revolution biography page]
Return to the Main Cold War biograpy page]
Return to the Main Cuban history page]
[About Us]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Climatology] [Clothing] [Disease and Health] [Economics] [Freedom] [Geography] [History] [Human Nature] [Law]
[Nationalism] [Presidents] [Religion] [Royalty] [Science] [Social Class]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Children in History Home]

Created: 3:10 AM 12/20/2015
Last updated: 3:10 AM 12/20/2015