Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was a Cuban revolutionary, lawyer, and politician who was the leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008, serving as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and president from 1976 to 2008. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, he also served as the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state; industry and business were nationalized, and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society.
Born in Birán, Oriente, the son of a wealthy Spanish farmer, Castro adopted leftist and anti-imperialist ideas while studying law at the University of Havana. After participating in rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he planned the overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, launching a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. After a year's imprisonment, Castro traveled to Mexico where he formed a revolutionary group, the 26th of July Movement, with his brother Raúl Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara.