January 1, 1959 — Castro’s rebels take power as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba.
IJune 1960 — Cuba nationalises USowned oil refineries after they refuse to process Soviet oil. Nearly all other US businesses expropriated by October.
IOctober 1960 — Washington bans exports to Cuba, other than food and medicine.
IApril 16, 1961 — Castro declares Cuba a socialist state.
IApril 17, 1961 — Bay of Pigs: CIAbacked Cuban exiles stage failed invasion.
IFebruary 7, 1962 — Washington bans all Cuban imports.
IOctober 1962 — US blockade forces removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba. US President John F. Kennedy agrees privately not to invade Cuba.
IMarch 1968 — Castro’s government takes over almost all private businesses.
IApril 1980 — Mariel boatlift: Cuba says anyone can leave; some 125,000 Cubans flee.
IDecember 1991 — Collapse of Soviet Union devastates Cuban economy.
IAugust 1994 — Castro declares he will not stop Cubans trying to leave; some 40,000 take to the sea heading for United States.
IMarch 18, 2003 — 75 Cuban dissidents sentenced to prison.
IJuly 31, 2006 — Castro announces he has had operation, temporarily cedes power to brother Raul.
IFebruary 19, 2008 — Castro resigns as president.
IJuly 2010 — Castro re-emerges after years in seclusion, visiting a scientific institute, giving a TV interview, talking to academics and even taking in a dolphin show at the aquarium.
IApril 19, 2011 — Castro is replaced by his brother Raul as first secretary of the Communist Party, the last official post he held. The elder Castro made a brief appearance at the Congress, looking frail as a young aide guided him to his seat.
IApril 19, 2016 —Castro delivers a valedictory speech at the Communist Party’s seventh Congress, declaring that “soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain.”
IINovember 25, 2016 — Fidel Castro dies. Ailing for more than a decade, Castro passed away at 10:29 p.m. on Friday.
His legacy in Cuba and elsewhere has been a mixed record of social progress and abject poverty, of racial equality and political persecution, of medical advances and a degree of misery comparable to the conditions that existed in Cuba when he entered Havana as a victorious guerrilla commander in 1959. That image made him both a symbol of revolution throughout the world and an inspiration to many imitators.
He defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s no-nonsense leader, a thorn in the side of 11 American presidents.
Following his death, many Cubans on the island described Fidel Castro as a towering figure who brought Cuba free health care, education and true independence from the United States, while saddling the country with an ossified political and economic system that has left streets and buildings crumbling and young, educated elites fleeing in search of greater prosperity abroad.
For Cubans off the island, Castro’s death was cause for celebration. In Miami, the heart of the Cuban diaspora, thousands of people banged pots with spoons, waved Cuban and United States flags in the air and whooped in jubilation.
The Cuban government declared nine days of mourning for Castro, including a three-day journey with his ashes from Havana to the eastern city of Santiago in a procession retracing his rebel army’s victorious sweep from the Sierra Maestra to Havana.
State radio and television were filled with non-stop tributes to Castro, playing hours of footage of his time in power and interviews with prominent Cubans affectionately remembering him. Bars shut, baseball games and concerts were suspended and many restaurants stopped serving alcohol and planned to close early. Official newspapers were published yesterday with only black ink instead of the usual bright red or blue mastheads.
Castro’s ashes are to be interred on Sunday, December 4 at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery.