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Fidel Castro dies at 90. Top quotes from the iconic leader

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:37 IST

Fidel Castro, Cuba's former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90.

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. The revolutionary leader retired from the public eye in 2006 after an emergency surgery to treat intestinal bleeding. A Marxist-Leninist and Cuban nationalist, Castro also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011.

Here are some memorable quotes from the iconic political leader:

"Condemn me. It is of no importance. History will absolve me." - Castro in 1953, while defending himself at a trial for his near-suicidal assault on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

Also Read: Life & times of Fidel Castro: the revolutionary who defied US for 50 years

Photo: AFP Photo

"A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past."- (1959)

"I am not thinking of cutting my beard, because I'm accustomed to my beard and my beard means many things to my country. When we fulfill our promise of good government I will cut my beard."- In an interview to CBS.

Photo: AFP Photo

"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." - (1959)

"I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure (Jesus Christ)."

"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."- (1985)

"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."

"We have to stick to the facts and, simply put, the socialist camp has collapsed."

"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."

Photo: AFP Photo

"There's nothing strange about it. I wish I had as many opportunities to welcome personalities as important as this one." - On explaining the move to give Hugo Chavez a welcome reserved for head of states before he was elected president of Venezuela.

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

"I realised that my true destiny would be the war that I was going to have with the United States." - The opening quote in Looking for Fidel - Stone's second documentary on the Cuban leader in 2004.

Photo: AFP Photo

"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." - (2005)

"I'm really happy to reach 80. I never expected it, not least having a neighbor, the greatest power in the world, trying to kill me every day." - Castro on 21 July 2006 while attending a summit of Latin American presidents in Argentina.

Photo: AFP Photo

"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." - In February 2008, announcing his resignation as president.

"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." - In one of his "reflections," or newspaper columns in 2008.

Photo: AFP Photo

"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." - In 2010, during an interview with US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg. Castro later said his comment was taken out of context.

First published: 26 November 2016, 1:52 IST