Fidel Castro In His Own Words

Fidel Castro In His Own Words

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Fidel Castro has died aged 90.

The Cuban revolutionary’s death was announced on Cuban state television.

His brother Raul Castro – the current President – said only: “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening.”

Castro, who seized power in Cuba in a 1959 revolution and transformed the country into a communist state, stepped down as Cuba’s president 10 years ago after suffering a severe gastrointestinal illness, and before his 90th birthday he told supporters he was going to die soon.

“I’ll be 90 years old soon,” he said. “Soon I’ll be like all the others.”

He continued: “The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervour and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without truce to obtain them.”
As tributes come flooding in from around the world for the revolutionary icon, here are some of his more memorable quotes about himself and communism in Cuba:

“Condemn me. It is of no importance. History will absolve me.” – Castro in 1953, when the young lawyer was defending himself at trial for his near-suicidal assault on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

1953 : Cuban rebel leader Fidel Castro under arrest after the attack on Quarter Moncada (Photo: REUTERS)

“I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.” – Castro in 1959.

1975 : Cuban Prime Secretary of the Cuban Communist party and President of the State Council Fidel Castro, wearing glasses (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“I’m not thinking of cutting my beard, because I’m accustomed to my beard and my beard means many things to my country. When we fulfil our promise of good government I will cut my beard.” – Castro in a 1959 interview with CBS’s Edward Murrow, 30 days after the revolution.

2012 : Former Cuban President Fidel Castro (Photo: AFP PHOTO/www.cubadebate.cu/Roberto Chile/HO)

“A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.” – Castro in 1959

2005 : Cuban President Fidel Castro gestures while talking to the media (Photo: REUTERS)

“I reached the conclusion long ago that the one last sacrifice I must make for (Cuban) public health is to stop smoking. I haven’t really missed it that much.” – Castro in December 1985 upon announcing he had stopped smoking cigars.

1999 : Cuban president Fidel Castro trying on a pair of sunglasses as he talks to the media (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure (Jesus Christ).” – Castro in 1985.

Cuban Former President Fidel Castro
Cuban Former President Fidel Castro (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

“Just imagine what would happen in the world if the socialist community were to disappear … if this were possible and I don’t believe it is possible.” – Castro in 1989.

Fidel Castro is seen greeting a girl during the celebration of his 90th birthday
Fidel Castro is seen greeting a girl during the celebration of his 90th birthday (Photo: MARCELO GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

“We do not know anything about this. We, gentlemen, to tell the truth, do not even know what to charge.” – Castro in 1990 on the development of international tourism In Cuba.

Cuba's former president Fidel Castro sits next to Cuba's President Raul Castro and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a cultural gala to celebrate Fidel Castro's 90th birthday in Havana
Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro sits next to Cuba’s President Raul Castro and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during a cultural gala to celebrate Fidel Castro’s 90th birthday in Havana (Photo: Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS)

“We have to stick to the facts and, simply put, the socialist camp has collapsed.” – Castro in 1991.

Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) watched by his brother, Minister of the the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Raul Castro
Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) watched by his brother, Minister of the the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Raul Castro (Photo: Getty Images)

“There’s nothing strange about it. I wish I had as many opportunities to welcome personalities as important as this one.” – Castro in 1994, explaining the reception, usually reserved for heads of state, given to Hugo Chavez upon his arrival in Havana a few months after he was released from prison for leading a failed 1992 coup. Five years later, Chavez was elected president of Venezuela and became Castro’s closest ally.

Hugo Chávez, 1954-2013 aged 58
Hugo Chávez, 1954-2013 aged 58 (Photo: Getty Images)

“These changes (the opening to international tourism, foreign investment, some small business and family remittances)have their social cost, because we lived in a glass case, pure asepsis, and now we are surrounded by viruses, bacteria to the point of distraction and the egoism created by the capitalist system of production.” – Castro in 1998.

Fidel Castro addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York
Fidel Castro addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York (Photo: Getty)

“One of the greatest benefits of the revolution is that even our prostitutes are college graduates.” – Castro to director Oliver Stone in 2003 documentary “Comandante.”

Still grab from a video taken on January
Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana (Photo: Getty)

“I realized that my true destiny would be the war that I was going to have with the United States.” – Castro’s opening quote in “Looking for Fidel,” Stone’s second documentary on the Cuban leader from 2004.

Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana
Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana (Photo: Getty)

“Here is a conclusion I’ve come to after many years: among all the errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we believed that someone … actually knew how to build socialism… Whenever they said. ‘That’s the formula,’ we thought they knew. Just as if someone is a physician.” – Castro in 2005.

Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana
Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance in Havana (Photo: Getty)

“I’m really happy to reach 80. I never expected it, not least having a neighbour, the greatest power in the world, trying to kill me every day,” he said on July 21, 2006 while attending a summit of Latin American presidents in Argentina.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez visits his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro in Havana in this August 13, 2006
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez visits his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro in Havana in this August 13, 2006 (Photo: Reuters)

“I will neither aspire to nor accept … the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief … It would be a betrayal of my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer.” Castro, in February 2008, announcing his resignation as president.

Hugo Chavez
This file picture shows retired Venezuelan military officer Hugo Chavez (L) meeting with Cuban President Fidel Castro (Photo: Getty Images)

“We are not a developed capitalist country in crisis, whose leaders are going crazy looking for solutions amidst depression, inflation, a lack of markets and unemployment; we are and we must be socialists.” – Castro writing in one of his “reflections,” or newspaper columns in 2008.

Fidel Castro holding the hand of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
Fidel Castro holding the hand of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (Photo: Getty)

“The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.” – Castro in 2010 during an interview with U.S. journalist Jeffrey Goldberg. Castro later said his comment was taken out of context.

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