Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008, has died at the age of 90.
The Cuban politician and revolutionary had led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his half century rule.
His younger brother, Raul Castro, on announced on state television that his brother died at 10:29pm (Local time) on Friday.
Here are some of his more memorable quotes about himself, communism, and his movements in Cuba:
1. I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger. I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest. I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened.
- Letter from prison (19 December 1953)
2. I am not a dictator, and I do not think I will become one. I will not maintain power with a machine gun.
- I Won't Be a Dictator, interview with Ruth Lloyd (January 1959), printed in The Spokesman-Review (24 May 1959)
3. Men do not shape destiny. Destiny produces the man for the hour.
- I Won't Be a Dictator (1959)
4. I am not a communist and neither is the revolutionary movement, but we do not have to say that we are anticommunists just to fawn on foreign powers.
- Resignation announcement (17 July 1959)
5. A revolution is not a trail of roses. A revolution is a fight to the death between the future and the past.
- Speech on the second anniversary of the triumph of the revolution (2 January 1961)
6. I joined the people; I grabbed a rifle in a police station that collapsed when it was rushed by a crowd. I witnessed the spectacle of a totally spontaneous revolution... That experience led me to identify myself even more with the cause of the people. My still incipient Marxist ideas had nothing to do with our conduct – it was a spontaneous reaction on our part, as young people with Martí-an, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist and pro-democratic ideas.
— Fidel Castro on the Bogotazo, 2009, My Life: A Spoken Autobiography
7. Marxism taught me what society was. I was like a blindfolded man in a forest, who doesn't even know where north or south is. If you don't eventually come to truly understand the history of the class struggle, or at least have a clear idea that society is divided between the rich and the poor, and that some people subjugate and exploit other people, you're lost in a forest, not knowing anything.
— Fidel Castro on discovering Marxism, 2009, My Life: A Spoken Autobiography
8. In a few hours you will be victorious or defeated, but regardless of the outcome – listen well, friends – this Movement will triumph. If you win tomorrow, the aspirations of Martí will be fulfilled sooner. If we fail, our action will nevertheless set an example for the Cuban people, and from the people will arise fresh new men willing to die for Cuba. They will pick up our banner and move forward... The people will back us in Oriente and in the whole island. As in '68 and '92, here in Oriente we will give the first cry of Liberty or Death!
— Fidel Castro's speech to the Movement just before the Moncada Attack, 1953
The Real Fidel Castro. New Haven and London: Yale University Press
9. I would honestly love to revolutionize this country from one end to the other! I am sure this would bring happiness to the Cuban people. I would not be stopped by the hatred and ill will of a few thousand people, including some of my relatives, half the people I know, two-thirds of my fellow professionals, and four-fifths of my ex-schoolmates
— Fidel Castro, 1954
Fidel Castro. New York and London
10. We are not executing innocent people or political opponents. We are executing murderers and they deserve it.
— Castro's response to his critics regarding the mass executions, 1959
Fidel: A Biography of Fidel Castro
11. There is often talk of human rights, but it is also necessary to talk of the rights of humanity. Why should some people walk barefoot, so that others can travel in luxurious cars? Why should some live for thirty-five years, so that others can live for seventy years? Why should some be miserably poor, so that others can be hugely rich? I speak on behalf of the children in the world who do not have a piece of bread. I speak on the behalf of the sick who have no medicine, of those whose rights to life and human dignity have been denied.
— Fidel Castro's message to the UN General Assembly, 1979
12. We do not have a smidgen of capitalism or neo-liberalism. We are facing a world completely ruled by neo-liberalism and capitalism. This does not mean that we are going to surrender. It means that we have to adopt to the reality of that world. That is what we are doing, with great equanimity, without giving up our ideals, our goals. I ask you to have trust in what the government and party are doing. They are defending, to the last atom, socialist ideas, principles and goals.
— Fidel Castro explaining the reforms of the Special Period: 1990–2000
13. I am a Marxist-Leninist, and I will be a Marxist-Leninist until the last days of my life.
- Speech on the anniversary of the Granma landing (2 December 1961)
14. I propose the immediate launching of a nuclear strike on the United States. The Cuban people are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the destruction of imperialism and the victory of world revolution.
- As quoted in "Castro Wanted a Nuclear Strike" in The New York Times (October 23, 1992)
15. They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?
- Statement of 1991, during the fall of USSR.