The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Cuban Politicians of all time. This list of famous Cuban Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Cuban Politicians.
With an HPI of 87.77, Fidel Castro is the most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 145 different languages on wikipedia.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (; American Spanish: [fiˈðel aleˈxandɾo ˈkastɾo ˈrus]; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary, lawyer and politician who was the leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008, serving as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and president from 1976 to 2008. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, he also served as the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state; industry and business were nationalized, and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society. Born in Birán, Oriente, the son of a wealthy Spanish farmer, Castro adopted leftist and anti-imperialist ideas while studying law at the University of Havana. After participating in rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he planned the overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, launching a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. After a year's imprisonment, Castro traveled to Mexico where he formed a revolutionary group, the 26th of July Movement, with his brother Raúl Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Returning to Cuba, Castro took a key role in the Cuban Revolution by leading the Movement in a guerrilla war against Batista's forces from the Sierra Maestra. After Batista's overthrow in 1959, Castro assumed military and political power as Cuba's prime minister. The United States came to oppose Castro's government and unsuccessfully attempted to remove him by assassination, economic blockade, and counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. Countering these threats, Castro aligned with the Soviet Union and allowed the Soviets to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, resulting in the Cuban Missile Crisis – a defining incident of the Cold War – in 1962. Adopting a Marxist–Leninist model of development, Castro converted Cuba into a one-party, socialist state under Communist Party rule, the first in the Western Hemisphere. Policies introducing central economic planning and expanding healthcare and education were accompanied by state control of the press and the suppression of internal dissent. Abroad, Castro supported anti-imperialist revolutionary groups, backing the establishment of Marxist governments in Chile, Nicaragua, and Grenada, as well as sending troops to aid allies in the Yom Kippur, Ogaden, and Angolan Civil War. These actions, coupled with Castro's leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1979 to 1983 and Cuba's medical internationalism, increased Cuba's profile on the world stage. Following the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991, Castro led Cuba through the economic downturn of the "Special Period", embracing environmentalist and anti-globalization ideas. In the 2000s, Castro forged alliances in the Latin American "pink tide" – namely with Hugo Chávez's Venezuela – and formed the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. In 2006, Castro transferred his responsibilities to Vice President Raúl Castro, who was elected to the presidency by the National Assembly in 2008. The longest-serving non-royal head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries, Castro headed a single-party authoritarian regime in Cuba where political opposition was repressed, civil rights were curtailed, and censorship of information was extensive. Castro polarized opinion throughout the world. His supporters view him as a champion of socialism and anti-imperialism whose revolutionary government advanced economic and social justice while securing Cuba's independence from U.S. hegemony. Critics call him a dictator whose administration oversaw human rights abuses, the exodus of many Cubans, and the impoverishment of the country's economy. Castro was decorated with various international awards and significantly influenced different individuals and groups across the world.
With an HPI of 80.39, Raúl Castro is the 2nd most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 90 different languages.
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz (; American Spanish: [raˈul moˈðesto ˈkastɾo ˈrus]; born 3 June 1931) is a Cuban retired politician and general who served as the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most senior position in the one-party communist state, from 2011 to 2021, succeeding his brother Fidel Castro. One of the military leaders of the Cuban Revolution, Castro served as the minister of the Armed Forces from 1959 to 2008. His ministerial tenure made him the longest-serving minister of the armed forces. Castro was also a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba, the highest decision-making body, from 1965 until 2021. Because of his brother's illness, Castro became the acting president of the Council of State in a temporary transfer of power from 31 July 2006. Castro was officially made president by the National Assembly on 24 February 2008, after his brother, who was still ailing, announced on 19 February 2008 that he would not stand again. He was re-elected president on 24 February 2013. Shortly thereafter, Castro announced that his second term would be his final term, and that he would not seek re-election in 2018. He stepped down from the presidency on 19 April 2018 after his successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel was elected by the National Assembly following parliamentary elections. Castro remained the first secretary of the Communist Party; he was still considered the de facto leader of the country, retaining oversight over the president. Castro announced at the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, which began on 16 April 2021, that he was retiring. His successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel, was voted in on 19 April.Castro was also the head of the constitutional reform commission, and continues to have a seat representing Santiago de Cuba's Segundo Frente municipality in the National Assembly.
With an HPI of 79.27, Fulgencio Batista is the 3rd most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 73 different languages.
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar (; Spanish: [fulˈxensjo βaˈtista i salˈdiβaɾ]; born Rubén Zaldívar, January 16, 1901 – August 6, 1973) was a Cuban military officer and politician who served as the elected president of Cuba from 1940 to 1944 and as its U.S.-backed military dictator from 1952 to 1959 before being overthrown during the Cuban Revolution. Batista initially rose to power as part of the 1933 Revolt of the Sergeants, which overthrew the provisional government of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada. He then appointed himself chief of the armed forces, with the rank of colonel and effectively controlled the five-member "pentarchy" that functioned as the collective head of state. He maintained this control through a string of puppet presidents until 1940, when he was himself elected President of Cuba on a populist platform. He then instated the 1940 Constitution of Cuba and served until 1944. After finishing his term, Batista moved to Florida, returning to Cuba to run for president in 1952. Facing certain electoral defeat, he led a military coup against President Carlos Prío Socarrás that pre-empted the election.Back in power and receiving financial, military and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans. Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70% of the arable land. As such, Batista's repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba's commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships both with the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts. To quell the growing discontent amongst the populace—which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations—Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions. These murders mounted in 1957, as socialist ideas became more influential. Many people were killed, with estimates ranging from hundreds to about 20,000 people killed.Catalyzing the resistance to such tactics, for two years (December 1956 – December 1958) Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement and other rebelling elements led an urban- and rural-based guerrilla uprising against Batista's government, which culminated in his eventual defeat by rebels under the command of Che Guevara at the Battle of Santa Clara on New Year's Day 1959. Batista immediately fled the island with an amassed personal fortune to the Dominican Republic, where strongman and previous military ally Rafael Trujillo held power. Batista eventually found political asylum in Oliveira Salazar's Portugal, where he first lived on the island of Madeira and then in Estoril. He was involved in business activities in Spain and was staying there in Guadalmina at the time of his death from a heart attack on August 6, 1973.
With an HPI of 70.05, Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado is the 4th most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado (April 17, 1919 – June 23, 1983) was a Cuban politician who served as the president of Cuba from 1959 until 1976.
With an HPI of 69.76, Emilio Mola is the 5th most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.
Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee of Spain (9 July 1887 – 3 June 1937) was one of the three leaders of the Nationalist coup of July 1936, which started the Spanish Civil War. After the death of Sanjurjo, Mola commanded the north, while Franco commanded the south. Attempting to take Madrid with his four columns, Mola praised local Nationalist sympathizers as a "fifth column", the first use of that phrase. He died in an air crash in bad weather, leaving Franco as sole leader for the rest of the war. Sabotage was suspected but has never been proved.
With an HPI of 69.58, Miguel Díaz-Canel is the 6th most famous Cuban Politician. Her biography has been translated into 58 different languages.
Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (Spanish: [mi.ˈɣel ˈdi.as ka.ˈnel]; born 20 April 1960) is a Cuban politician serving as the president of Cuba since 2019 and as the first secretary of the Communist Party since 2021. He was previously President of the Council of State of Cuba from 2018 to 2019 and First Vice President from 2013 to 2018. He has been a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party since 2003, and he served as Minister of Higher Education from 2009 to 2012; he was promoted to the post of Vice President of the Council of Ministers (Deputy Prime Minister) in 2012. A year later, on 24 February 2013, he was elected as First Vice President of the Council of State. He was selected to succeed Raúl Castro as the candidate for President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers on 18 April 2018 and was sworn into office the following day after the National Assembly voted for his nomination. His two predecessors in the role were brothers by blood; notably, Díaz-Canel's succession (following Raúl Castro) represents a non-dynastic form of succession for the Communist Party as well as for the Republic of Cuba. Díaz-Canel is the first president to not be a Castro family member since Osvaldo Dorticós in 1976 and the first leader of the government who is not a Castro since José Miró Cardona in 1959. He succeeded Raúl Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba on 19 April 2021, marking the end of the Castro era in Cuba.
With an HPI of 69.36, Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg is the 7th most famous Cuban Politician. Her biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Maria Teresa (born María Teresa Mestre y Batista; 22 March 1956) is the spouse of Grand Duke Henri, who acceded to the throne in 2000. She was born in Cuba.
With an HPI of 69.08, Juan Almeida Bosque is the 8th most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.
Juan Almeida Bosque (February 17, 1927 – September 11, 2009) was a Cuban politician and one of the original commanders of the insurgent forces in the Cuban Revolution. After the rebels took power in 1959, he was a prominent figure in the Communist Party of Cuba. At the time of his death, he was a Vice-President of the Cuban Council of State and was its third ranking member. He received several decorations, and national and international awards, including the title of "Hero of the Republic of Cuba" and the Order of Máximo Gómez.
With an HPI of 67.19, Gerardo Machado is the 9th most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Gerardo Machado y Morales (28 September 1869 – 29 March 1939) was a general of the Cuban War of Independence and President of Cuba from 1925 to 1933. Machado entered the presidency with widespread popularity and support from the major political parties. However, his support declined over time. Many people objected to his running again for re-election in 1928, as his victory violated his promise to serve for only one term. As protests and rebellions became more strident, his administration curtailed free speech and used repressive police tactics against opponents. Ultimately, in 1933, Machado was forced to step down in favor of a provisional government headed by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada and brokered by US ambassador Sumner Welles. Machado has been described as a dictator.
With an HPI of 67.12, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes is the 10th most famous Cuban Politician. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes del Castillo (April 18, 1819, Bayamo, Spanish Cuba – February 27, 1874, San Lorenzo, Spanish Cuba) was a Cuban revolutionary hero. Cespedes, who was a plantation owner in Cuba, freed his slaves and made the declaration of Cuban independence in 1868 which started the Ten Years' War (1868–78). This was the first of three wars of independence, the third of which, the Cuban War of Independence led to the end of Spanish rule in 1898 and Cuba's independence in 1902. Because of his actions which led to the eventual independence of Cuba, he is known there as the "Father of the Fatherland".
Pantheon has 40 people classified as politicians born between 1819 and 1967. Of these 40, 12 (30.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Raúl Castro, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. The most famous deceased politicians include Fidel Castro, Fulgencio Batista, and Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado. As of October 2020, 9 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Sergio Oliva, Julio Antonio Mella, and Ramón Castro Ruz.
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1926 - 2016
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.