- Alejandro Castro Ruz, aka Fidel Castro
- 49:03 year(s):day(s)
- Cuba ()
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, aka Fidel Castro (b. 13 August 1926) had the “longest tenure as a national leader” (non-monarch and continuous), holding the top political position in Cuba first as Prime Minister (from 16 February 1959 until 2 December 1976) and then as President (from 2 December 1976 to 19 February 2008) for a span of 49 years and three days.
On 31 July 2006, the official Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma made public a Proclamation from President Fidel Castro, who had undergone surgery for intestinal bleeding, announcing a temporary transfer of power from Fidel to his brother Raul. On 19 February 2008, Castro resigned due to poor health and, on 24 February 2008, the National Assembly of People’s Power (Cuba’s legislative body) elected Raúl Castro, Fidel’s younger brother, as president of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers. Fidel retained the position of First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, the highest office within the Communist Party of Cuba, until 19 April 2011.
Fidel Castro, the illegitimate son of an affluent farmer (who had emigrated to Cuba from Spain), was a Communist; he led an armed revolution against US-supported President Fulgencio Batista, marching with his troops into the capital city of Havana on 1 January 1959, as Batista fled into exile. His tenure included the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 when the Soviet Union and USA nearly came to nuclear war over the presence of nuclear weapons on the island nation, just 90 miles away from Key West, Florida. Castro also set another record for the Longest Speech at the United Nations General Assembly on 26 September 1960 when he logged in with a 4.5-hour address lambasting the United States foreign policy in Latin America. The day was, coincidentally, the date of the first televised Presidential Debate between then Senator John F. Kennedy (Democrat-Massacusetts) and then Vice President Richard Nixon (Republican-California) – Kennedy was elected in 1960 (as the 35th President) and Castro became his nemesis as Kennedy also filled that role for Castro; Nixon went on to win the Presidency in 1968 (as the 37th President). Castro was also known as an ardent baseball fan although the rumours that he tried out for the Major League Baseball team, the Washington Senators, have never been substantiated – the likelihood is that he only played intramural games as a law student at the University of Havana.