Submitted by ub on Wed, 09/03/2014 - 06:52

In 1959, Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba. He has been one of the most controversial figures in the world ever since.

History Will Absolve Me" is the concluding sentence and subsequent title of a four-hour speech made by Fidel Castro on 16 October 1953. Castro made the speech in his own defense in court against the charges brought against him after leading an attack on the Moncada Barracks. Though no record of Castro's words was kept, he reconstructed them later for publication in what was to become the manifesto of his 26th of July Movement

Castro's speech contained numerous evocations of the "father of Cuban independence" José Martí, whilst depicting Batista as a tyrant. According to Castro, Batista was a "monstrum horrendum ... without entrails" who had committed an act of treachery in 1933 when he initiated a coup to oust Cuban president Ramón Grau. Castro went on to speak of "700,000 Cubans without work", launching an attack on Cuba's extant healthcare and schooling, and asserting that 30% of Cuba's farm people couldn't even write their own names.

In Castro's published manifesto, based on his 1953 speech, he gave details of the "five revolutionary laws" he wished to see implemented on the island:

The reinstatement of the 1940 Cuban constitution.
A reformation of land rights.
The right of industrial workers to a 30% share of company profits.
The right of sugar workers to receive 55% of company profits.
The confiscation of holdings of those found guilty of fraud under previous administrative powers.

This is the story of the Cuban dictator’s turbulent career, told in part through media reports, rare images and recordings. Full Episode