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Birthplace of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro


11-26-2016 15:11 BJT

Fidel Castro turned Cuba into the only communist state in the western hemisphere. Our correspondent, Michael Voss, went to the remote farm where he was born, to see if there are any clues as to what turned the son of a wealthy landowner into a revolutionary leader.

Fidel and Raul Castro were born in a tiny hamlet called Biran, in what is today the eastern province of Holguin. The family house and farm buildings have been restored and turned into a museum.

Fidel's parents both came from humble origins, his mother a domestic worker- his father a Spanish immigrant who through hard work became a wealthy landowner.

The farm workers, many of them poor Haitian migrants, lived in nearby huts. There was alsoaone room school on the farm, which the young Fidel attended along with his elder brother and sister.

"His classroom was open to everyone living here from the children of the poorest farm laborers to the family of the wealthy landowner. And it's believed this is where Fidel first became aware of the vast differences in wealth that existed in the Cuba of those days," said Michael Voss in Biran.

"All these interpersonal relations he established with these humble families, helped Fidel to understand the essence of suffering and oppression and the difficulties these families went through," said Lazaro Castro, curator, Biran Museum.

And living beside a dirt track not far from the farm we found one of Fidel Castro's last surviving classmates.

"Fidel and I when we were kids he never was stuck up. He always hung out with us. We swam together in the pond at Jobo, the whole group of kids," said Francisco Gonzalez, Fidel Castro's childhood friend.

They also played baseball and boxing. Even in those very early days Fidel Castro displayed a competitive streak and the will to win.

"I practiced boxing with Fidel, but he was taller than me and had big feet and every time I tried to retreat he would tread on my toes to stop me," said Francisco Gonzalez.

They are still growing sugar in the fields around the farm only now it's a worker's collective. Shortly after the revolution Fidel Castro nationalized the family business.

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