Fidel Castro died on 25th November at the age of 90. Before his death, he had ruled Cuba as a communist dictator for a period of almost 5 decades since 1959 when he overthrew the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Castro died exactly 53 years and three days after the death of his nemesis – U.S. President John F. Kennedy. As much as the two were antagonistic towards each other, they had some things in common. Both men were fathered by wealthy parents who loved sports and both fought to keep their countries free of dictators. Oops! Their similarities do not go past that.
The main difference between JFK and Castro is apparent – the former died young after assassination while Castro lived till old age to see at least 10 more U.S. Presidents. As much he did not live in a palace and streets got to be named after him, Castro led quite an extravagant lifestyle. An estimation of his wealth was found to be $900 million. That is quite a lot for a man purporting to be a socialist.
It is clear that the man loved to live luxuriously but as a result of security reasons, his residences were always kept top secret. Even the Cuban people could not get to know about his whereabouts.
The following are the top 10 surprising facts about Fidel Castro:
Born to wealthy parents
Fidel Castro was born to a wealthy man who owned 25,000 acres of sugarcane plantation with about 400 employees. His birth place is on an island in Birán, Cuba – a small town that is about 500 miles from Havana. The property is now being used as a Castro museum.
His home got burned to the ground
Their childhood home that was established in 1915 by a wealthy land owner was consumed by flame in 1954. 20 years later in 1974, an exact replica of it was erected. He had lived in this home with his only brother Raul Castro – to whom he handed power in 2008.
Hypocrisy in burying his parents
The parents to the two men were laid to rest in the Birán plantation, with a background that contrasted his message. In order to ensure the street does not judge him harshly, he touted his grandparent’s background as “exploited Galician peasants” from Spain.
Was well-educated in fancy school
He got quality education in a boarding school, just like JFK but got mediocre grades. Some of the things that interested him include – baseball, reading and politics. When he was 14 years old, he wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to congratulate him for his re-election and then asked for $10 American cash.
Birán estate was not just a work place
His father, Ángel Castro, did not just use the Birán estate for work purposes. On the same land, he established a primary school, hotel, pub, post office, a market store, and a ring for cockfighting
Survived more than 600 assassination attempts
He was in charge of Cuba since 1959 to 2008, making it a total of 49 years of leadership. Throughout his time as a leader, he survived more than 600 attempted assassinations by CIA and many other foes. Some of these attempts include – poison milkshakes and exploding cigars. Upon relinquishing power to his brother, he retired to a top secret military 75-acre suburban Havana home.
He owned Punto Cero
It is reported that a pre-revolution golf course property named Punto Cero was built by Fidel Castro in the 1970s. As per leaks given by his former bodyguard, the estate has orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and banana trees, as well as cows and six greenhouses to grow food.
Was more wealthy than it’s believed
Castro was not just a fisherman that he claimed to be. On many cases the man claimed that Punto Cero was his main asset but that’s not true. This was just a summer residence but had residences in Cayo Piedra (a stone throw from the Bay of Pigs), La Caleta del Rosario, which featured a private marina; and La Deseada, a chalet in Pinar del Río – as reported by InCuba Today.
He has met with 3 Popes
His retirement did not bar him from meeting with prominent leaders. Some of the iconic people he met with include Pope John Paul II in 1998, Pope Benedict in 2012, and Pope Francis in 2015. As much as he had a Jesuit background, he was an atheist. But all that did not stop him from meeting with Popes and even sharing a number of books.
His burial place is a secret
As explained by Raul Castro when announcing the death of his brother, the former Cuban leader will be cremated and given a state burial. Just like he has always wanted, his final resting place will still remain to be a top secret.