For 47 years of his life Fidel Castro has been Comandante en Jefe (Commander in Chief) of Cuba. He lead the Cuban revolution that overthrew the Batista government. On the eve of 1959 Castro's forces took over the capitol and Batista resigned and escaped to the Dominican Republic.
The Moncada Barracks after Castro's failed attack.
Fidel Castro was born in the province of Holguin in Cuba August 13, 1926 and later attended law school in the University of Havana. During his time in the University is when Castro became interested in politics due to the constant tension in the University due to volatile period in Cuba's history. The atmosphere was so aggressive that gangs were formed that used violence to gain power and become leaders. Castro joined the Partido Ortodoxo which wanted an end to government corruption and advocated reform in Cuba. Castro eventually had become a candidate for a seat in the Cuban parliament but Fulgencio Batista led a coup d'etat that overthrew the government and cancelled elections. Fidel grew furious, left the Partido Ortodoxo and began forming and underground group of supporters to overthrow Batista. On July 26, 1953 Castro led 135 militants to the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba, the second largest in the country, with the objective of taking over it and using as headquarters for their movement. However, the attack was unsuccessful for Castro with 60 of the militants dying and forcing Castro and others to hideout in the Sierra Maestra mountains where they later found and sentenced to prison for 15 years. In prison Castro continued to plot overthrowing Batista's regime and after less than two years he was released from prison and went to Mexico to train and prepare for his next attack.
Catro leading a group of rebels through the Sierra Maestra.
In 1956 Castro left with 82 men, including Erneste "Che" Guevara, on a yacht to Cuba where again many of Castro's militants died and they had to find refuge in the Sierra Maestra. This time they received help from people on the country side and they began to wage guerrilla warfare in towns and cities across the country and gaining more and more support. After occupying more and more towns and fearing that his own army would betray him Batista resigned and left Cuba January 1, 1959 and on the 8th Castro rolled in to Cuba and took over the the country.