Tuesday, August 13, 2013


August 13, 2013


Havana (JFK+50) Fidel Castro* was born 87 years ago today, August 13, 1926, the son of a Spanish immigrant who made a fortune building a rail system to transport sugar cane.

                             Fidel Castro
                     Jose Marti Monument
                          Havana, Cuba
          Photo by Ricardo Stuckert (2003)
                    Agencia Brasil Image

*Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born in Biran, Cuba.  His father had fought in the Cuban War for Independence on the side of Spain and in the Spanish-American War.  Castro, who was raised in wealth, studied law at the University of Havana.

In the late 1940s, Castro moved politically to the left as he supported the views of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.

Fidel Castro, who led in the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, served as prime minister (1959-1976), president (1976-2008), and 1st secretary of the Communist Party (1961-2011).

According to Reuters, the only official event relating to Castro's birthday was held yesterday at the Jose Marti National Monument in Havana.  The event included a choral concert.

Reuters says...

"The once towering, broad-shouldered man is now stooped.  He has trouble walking and his famed booming oratory has softened to a near whisper."

Cuba is now under the direction of Fidel's younger 82 year old brother, Raul who has devised a plan to...

"move the economy (to a) more market-friendly direction, like...Vietnam and China."

Reuters adds...

"Cuba struggles to move on from (Fidel's) half-century rule as many of his policies are reconsidered...."

Fidel lives on the outskirts of Havana with his wife.

When Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba in 1959, the United States officially recognized his government but when he established a relationship with the USSR and expropriated U.S. oil refineries on the island, the Eisenhower administration broke off diplomatic relations (January 3, 1961).

JFK, inaugurated 17 days later, inherited a secret CIA plan to overthrow Castro and gave his approval for an invasion at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961,carried out by Cuban refugees trained by the United States.

                          Map of Cuba
                      by User: Zleitzen

The failure of the invasion tarnished the image of the new administration and on February 7, 1962, an economic embargo was placed on Cuba by the United States which continues to this day.

The resolution of the subsequent Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 did not include the input of an embarrassed Fidel Castro and to add insult to injury, the Organization of American States also broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Despite the best efforts of the government of the United States, Fidel Castro remained in power until he stepped aside for his brother in 2008.


"Fidel Castro's role in Cuba is chiefly offstage as he turns 87," by Marc Frank, August 12, 2013,

"Fidel Castro,"


London, England (JFK+50) The Battle of Britain began 73 years ago today, August 13, 1940, when the German Luftwaffe began bombing raids on southern England.

The raids were aimed at destroying British radar stations in preparations for an amphibious attack across the English Channel.

Of 1500 German aircraft that took part in the air attack, 45 were shot down and the Luftwaffe only succeeded in destroying one radar station on the Isle of Wright.

                      RAF Squadron 264
                          August 1940
                  Photo by B.J. Daventry
                   Royal Air Force Image