On September 18th of 1960, Fidel Castro visited New York City. He was leading the Cuban delegation to the United Nations. The trip included his four-hour speech to the United Nations, in which he attacked what he called American “aggression” and “imperialism.”
Fidel Castro was born in Cuba in 1926. His father was a migrant from northwest Spain, who had become financially successful from growing sugar cane. Fidel's mother was the household servant, who later became his second wife. Together they had seven children. Starting at the age of six, Fidel was sent to live with his teacher. Starting from age eight, he attended a series of boarding schools.
In 1945, Castro began studying law at the University of Havana, where he engaged in leftist political activism. He was critical of the corrupt government under President Ramón Grau. In November of 1946, Castro delivered a public speech that was covered on the front pages of several newspapers. In 1947, he joined the Party of the Cuban People, whose leader, Eduardo Chibás, promoted social justice, honest government, and political freedom. Although Chibás lost the election, Castro remained committed to the cause. He soon received death threats insisting that he leave the University, but instead he armed himself and surrounded himself with friends who were also armed.
In 1948, he married Mirta Balart, a Cuban student from a wealthy family. Mirta set about having babies while Fidel continued endangering himself with his political activism. Despite having a child between them, they divorced seven years later when Castro was in exile.
In 1959, Castro became Cuba's Prime Minister. However, the U.S. was afraid of him because of his friendly relations with the Soviets. So the U.S. tried to get rid of him, by way of assassination. In March of 1960, President Eisenhower ordered the CIA to train Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro's regime. So Castro allowed the Soviets to place nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba, leading to what is now known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Richard Nixon believed that Castro was leaning dangerously toward communism, although Castro had not yet declared himself a communist.
It was under these chilly conditions that Fidel Castro visited the United States on September 18th of 1960. He stayed at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem, where he met with many famous African American leaders, including Malcolm X. Then he delivered his blistering speech, which severed the already fragile relations between America and Cuba.
On December 2nd of 1976, Fidel Castro became President of Cuba. In 1980, he married Dalia Soto, with whom he had eight more children. He held the presidential office until February 24th of 2008, when he handed it over to his younger brother, Vice President Raúl Castro.
Fidel Castro was always a controversial political figure, with some people seeing him as a brave fighter for social justice, while others considered him a heartless dictator.
Despite the many hundred attempts on his life, Castro lives on. He is now in his 90s.