Fidel Castro Net Worth
Fidel Castro had an estimated net worth of $900 million at death. Fidel Castro orchestrated the Cuban Revolution and was the head of Cuba’s government until 2008. According to some reports from Cuban businessmen and exiles, Castro earned most of his income from more than a dozen commercial enterprises under his control. He had several hundred million dollars stashed in secret bank accounts all over the world, primarily in Switzerland. In addition, he had a massive real estate portfolio in Cuba.
Beginning in 1958, Fidel Castro and his forces launched a guerrilla warfare campaign that resulted in the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the country’s new leader, Castro instituted communist domestic policies and established military and economic ties with the Soviet Union, resulting in strained relations with the US. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis heightened tensions between the United States and Cuba. Castro improved healthcare and education while maintaining dictatorial control of the country and brutally persecuting or imprisoning anyone perceived to be enemies of the regime.
Thousands of dissidents were murdered or died while attempting to flee the dictatorship. Castro was also responsible for sparking communist revolutions all over the world. However, the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union in 1991 and its negative impact on Cuba’s economy led Castro to gradually relax some restrictions. Castro officially handed over power to his brother Ral Castro in 2008, despite his failing health, but he retained some political influence in Cuba and abroad. Fidel Castro died at the age of 90 in 2016.
To calculate the net worth of Fidel Castro, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$900 Million|
|Monthly Salary:||$1 Thousand|
|Annual Income:||$20 Million|
|Source of Wealth:||Politician|
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born in the eastern Oriente Province of Cuba on August 13, 1926, near Birán. He was the third of six siblings, with two brothers, Ral and Ramón, and three sisters, Angela, Emma, and Agustina. His father, ngel, was a wealthy Spanish-born sugar plantation owner who did most of his business with the American-owned United Fruit Company, which dominated agriculture in the region at the time.
Lina Ruz González, Fidel’s mother, had been a maid to ngel’s first wife, Maria Luisa Argota, at the time of his birth. When Fidel was 15, his father divorced his first wife and married Fidel’s mother. Fidel was formally recognized by his father at the age of 17, and his name was changed from Ruz to Castro.
Castro was educated in private Jesuit boarding schools and grew up in wealthy circumstances amid Cuba’s poverty, but his teachers instilled in him a sense of Spanish pride. Castro demonstrated early on that he was intellectually gifted, but he was also a bit of a troublemaker who was often more interested in sports than studies.
He went to Colegio Dolores in Santiago de Cuba and then El Colegio de Belén in Havana, where he pitched for the baseball team, played basketball, and ran track. After graduating in late 1945, Castro enrolled in law school at the University of Havana, where he immersed himself in the climate of Cuban nationalism, anti-imperialism, and socialism, focusing his energies entirely on politics.
Early Political Insurrections and Arrests
By 1947, Castro’s commitment to social justice had grown, and he traveled to the Dominican Republic to join an expedition attempting to depose the country’s dictator, Rafael Trujillo. Though the coup failed before it began, it did not dampen Castro’s desire for reform, and he returned to Bogotá, Colombia, the following year to take part in anti-government rioting.
Castro also joined the Partido Ortodoxo, an anti-communist political party formed in 1947 to reform Cuba’s government. Its founder, Cuban presidential candidate Eduardo Chibás, lost the 1948 election but inspired Castro to become a devout follower. He promised to expose the government’s corruption and warn the public about former President General Fulgencio Batista, who was planning a comeback. Chibás’ efforts, however, were cut short when his purported allies refused to provide evidence of government wrongdoing. Chibás shot himself during a radio broadcast in August 1951.
Meanwhile, Castro married Mirta Daz Balart, a wealthy political family from Cuba. In 1949, they had one child, Fidel. Castro’s marriage provided him with a more prosperous lifestyle as well as political connections. At the same time, he became interested in Karl Marx’s work and decided to run for a seat in the Cuban legislature. However, in March 1952, a coup led by General Fulgencio Batista successfully overthrew the government and canceled the upcoming election, leaving Castro without a legitimate political platform and little income to support his family.
Batista established himself as dictator, consolidating power with the military and Cuba’s economic elite, and having his government recognized by the US. In response, Castro and other members of the Partido Ortodoxo formed “The Movement” and planned an insurgency. On July 26, 1953, Castro and about 150 supporters launched an attack on the Moncada military barracks outside of Santiago de Cuba in an attempt to depose Batista. The attack, however, failed, and Castro was apprehended, tried, convicted, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Raal, his brother, was also among those imprisoned.
Guerrilla War Against Batista
Castro renamed his organization the “26th of July Movement” while incarcerated and continued to coordinate its activities through correspondence. He and his compatriots were eventually released in 1955 as part of an amnesty agreement with the Batista government, and he traveled to Mexico with Ral, where they continued to plot their revolution.
In Mexico, Castro met with other Cuban exiles as well as the Argentine rebel Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who believed that only violent revolution could alleviate the plight of Latin America’s poor. He joined Castro’s group and became a close confidante, influencing Castro’s political beliefs.
Castro returned to Cuba on the Granma with 80 insurgents and a cache of weapons on December 2, 1956, near the eastern city of Manzanillo. Batista’s forces quickly killed or captured the majority of the attackers. However, Castro, Ral, Guevara, and a few others managed to flee into the Sierra Maestra mountain range on the island’s southeastern coast.
Over the next two years, Castro’s steadily growing forces waged a guerrilla war against the Batista regime, organizing resistance groups in cities and small towns throughout Cuba. Castro was also able to form a parallel government, implement some agrarian reforms, and gain control of provinces with agricultural and manufacturing production.
Beginning in 1958, Castro and his forces launched a series of successful military campaigns across Cuba to capture and hold key areas. Batista’s government finally collapsed under Castro’s efforts, owing to a loss of popular support and massive desertions in its military, and Batista himself fled to the Dominican Republic in January 1959. At the age of 32, Castro had completed his guerrilla campaign to seize control of Cuba.
A provisional government was formed quickly, with Manuel Urrutia as president and José Miró Cardona as prime minister. It quickly gained US recognition, and Castro himself arrived in Havana to cheering crowds and took over as commander-in-chief of the military. Miró abruptly resigned in February 1959, and Castro was sworn in as Cuba’s prime minister. Meanwhile, hundreds of Batista’s government members were tried and executed.
Turn to Communism
In an attempt to end the island’s economic dominance, Castro implemented far-reaching reforms such as nationalizing factories and plantations. Among these reforms was the announcement that the new government would base foreign company compensation on the artificially low property values that the companies had negotiated with previous Cuban governments in order to keep their taxes low. The negative effects of such measures were quickly felt by American businesses, causing a significant strain in relations between Cuba and the United States.
During this period, Castro denied being a communist on numerous occasions, but his policies resembled Soviet-style control of both the economy and the government to many Americans. Castro and a delegation visited the United States as guests of the National Press Club in April 1959. Castro hired a well-known public relations firm to aid in the promotion of his tour, but President Dwight Eisenhower refused to meet with him.
In May of that year, Castro signed the first Agrarian Reform Act, which limited the size of land holdings and prohibited foreign ownership. On the surface, the goal was to create a class of self-sufficient farmers. In reality, this program resulted in state land control, with farmers reduced to the status of government employees. By the end of 1959, Castro’s revolution had become increasingly radical, with purges of military and government leaders — including President Urrutia — and the repression of any media critical of Castro’s policies.
In addition, Castro’s government began to establish relations with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union dispatched over 100 Spanish-speaking advisers to help organize Cuba’s defense committee. In February 1960, Cuba signed a trade agreement with the Soviet Union to purchase oil and established diplomatic relations. When US-owned refineries in Cuba refused to process the oil, Castro expropriated them, and the US retaliated by reducing Cuba’s sugar import quota, kicking off what would become a decades-long squabble between the two countries.
Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis
1961 was a watershed moment in Castro’s relationship with the United States. Outgoing President Eisenhower severed diplomatic relations with the Cuban government on January 3, 1961. Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state on April 14th. Three days later, 1,400 Cuban exiles invaded Cuba from the remote Bay of Pigs in an attempt to destabilize the Castro regime. The incursion was a colossal failure, with hundreds of insurgents killed and over 1,000 captured.
Though the US denied any involvement, it was revealed that the Cuban exiles had been trained by the CIA and were armed with American weapons. The National Security Archive revealed decades later that the US had begun planning an overthrow of the Castro government as early as March 1959. The invasion was conceived during the Eisenhower administration and inherited by President John F. Kennedy, who reluctantly approved its action but denied the invaders air support in order to conceal the United States’ involvement in the effort.
Castro, for his part, was able to use the incident to consolidate power and advance his agenda. On May 1, he declared the end of democratic elections in Cuba and condemned American imperialism. Then, by the end of the year, Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist and announced that the Cuban government would implement communist economic and political policies. The United States imposed a full economic embargo on Cuba on February 7, 1962.
Following the Bay of Pigs incident, Castro strengthened his ties with the Soviet Union by accepting additional economic and military aid. His growing reliance on Soviet support brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in October 1962. In order to deter another US invasion of Cuba, Castro and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev devised the plan to station nuclear missiles in Cuba, 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
Khrushchev justified the move as a reaction to US Jupiter missiles stationed in Turkey. However, an American U-2 reconnaissance plane discovered the base construction before the missiles were installed, prompting President John F. Kennedy to demand that the missiles be removed, as well as orders for the US Navy to search any vessels heading for the island.
Over the course of 13 anxious days of secret communications between Khrushchev, Kennedy, and their agents, the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles in exchange for the US publicly agreeing not to invade Cuba. The Kennedy administration also agreed to remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey in secret.
Both leaders saved face and earned some respect for their restraint. Castro, on the other hand, was humiliated: both superpowers had left him out of the talks entirely. Furthermore, in response to Castro’s “shameful” actions, the United States was able to persuade the Organization of American States to terminate diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Cuba Under Castro
Castro, however, was not humiliated for long. In 1965, he merged Cuba’s Communist Party with his revolutionary organizations and took over as party leader. Within a few years, he launched a campaign to support armed resistance to imperialism in Latin American and African countries. Castro established the Organization for Solidarity with the Peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America in January 1966 to promote revolution and communism on three continents. He also founded the Latin American Solidarity Organization in 1967 to promote revolution in a number of Latin American countries.
By providing military support to pro-Soviet forces in Angola, Ethiopia, and Yemen in the 1970s, Castro maintained his position as the leading spokesperson for Third World countries. Despite the fact that Cuba was still heavily subsidized by the Soviet government during this time, the expeditions were ultimately unsuccessful and put a strain on the Cuban economy.
Meanwhile, the United States’ agreement not to invade Cuba did not preclude other attempts to destabilize the Castro regime. Castro was the target of numerous CIA assassination attempts over the years (an estimated 638 in total, according to Cuban intelligence), ranging from exploding cigars to a fungus-infected scuba-diving suit to a mafia-style shooting. Castro took great pleasure in the fact that none of the assassination attempts were successful, and he was quoted as saying that if avoiding assassination attempts was an Olympic sport, he would have won gold medals.
Castro’s regime is credited with establishing 10,000 new schools and increasing literacy to 98%. Cubans benefit from a universal healthcare system, which has reduced infant mortality to 11 deaths per 1,000 births (1.1 percent). At the same time, civil liberties were eroded, with labor unions losing the right to strike, independent newspapers being closed down, and religious institutions being harassed.
Castro suppressed opposition to his rule through executions, imprisonments, and forced emigration. Though no exact figures are available, the Cuba Archive estimates that tens of thousands were murdered, with a documented 5,600 killed by firing squads alone. More Cubans were killed by state forces when they attempted to flee the country, as in the Canimar River Massacre in 1980 and the Tugboat Massacre in 1994.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled the country during Castro’s reign, with many settling just across the Florida Straits in Miami. The most significant of these exoduses occurred in 1980, when Castro opened the port of Mariel to allow exiled Cubans living in Miami to return to claim their relatives. Castro also loaded the ships with Cuban prisoners and mentally ill people upon their arrival. In total, nearly 120,000 Cubans fled their homeland in 1980 in search of safety in the United States.
The Collapse of the Soviet Union
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, sending Cuba’s economy into a tailspin, Castro’s revolution began to lose steam. Without cheap oil imports and a hungry Soviet market for Cuban sugar and other goods, unemployment and inflation in Cuba increased. The Cuban economy contracted, resulting in the disappearance of 85 percent of its markets.
Nonetheless, Castro was an expert at maintaining control of the government during difficult economic times. He pressed the US to lift the economic embargo, but the US refused. Castro then implemented a quasi-free market economy and encouraged foreign investment. He also legalized the US dollar and encouraged limited tourism, and he visited the US in 1996 to invite Cuban exiles living there to return to Cuba and start businesses.
After Hurricane Michelle caused massive damage in 2001, Castro declined US humanitarian aid in favor of a one-time cash purchase of food from the US. The administration of President George W. Bush agreed and authorized the shipment. With fuel supplies running dangerously low, Castro ordered the closure of 118 factories and dispatched thousands of Cuban doctors to Venezuela in exchange for oil imports.
Shifting Power and Brother
In the late 1990s, speculation about Castro’s age and health began. Numerous health issues had been reported over the years, with the most serious occurring in 2006, when Castro underwent gastrointestinal bleeding surgery. On July 31, 2006, Castro made a dramatic announcement designating his brother Ral as the country’s interim leader. Ral had been Castro’s second in command for decades and was officially named his successor in 1997. Following his surgery, Castro’s only public appearances were in photographs and videotapes of meetings.
Due to his deteriorating physical condition, Castro, 81, resigned as Cuba’s president on February 19, 2008. He delegated authority to Ral, who was 76 years old at the time. The Cuban National Assembly officially elected Ral as Cuba’s president the same month, though Castro reportedly remained the Communist Party’s first secretary.
Castro formally resigned from his position as leader of Cuba’s Communist Party in April 2011. Ral was easily elected as the party’s new first secretary, succeeding his brother and naming famed revolutionary José Ramón Machado Ventura as the party’s second in command. Castro claimed to have resigned from the position five years prior.
In his retirement, Castro began writing a column called “Reflections of Fidel” about his experiences and opinions, and his autobiography My Life was published in 2007.
Castro, on the other hand, did not publish any columns from mid-November to early January 2012. The sudden silence fueled speculation that Castro’s health had deteriorated. These stories, however, were quickly debunked, as Castro published a flurry of articles later that January.
Though he was not involved in the day-to-day running of Cuba, Castro still wielded political power both at home and abroad. During their visits to Cuba, he continued to meet with foreign leaders, including Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2012. Pope Benedict arranged a special audience with Castro at the end of his March 2012 trip, seeking greater religious freedom for Catholics living in the communist country, and Pope Francis met privately with Castro as well in September 2015. When Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, he did not meet with Castro, who later denounced the goodwill mission in his column, citing mistrust of US motives and writing, “We don’t need the empire to gift us anything.”
Castro died at the age of 90 on November 25, 2016. Ral, his brother and successor, announced his death on Cuban state television.
Although no official count exists, Castro is thought to have fathered at least nine children. He had a son, Fidel (“Fidelito”), with his first wife Martina, who reportedly committed suicide in February 2018 after battling depression. Castro had five more sons with his second wife, Dalia Sota del Valle. He also had three other children from three different women (two daughters and one son).
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