It is true that, while he frequently spoke of his convictions in private, during the Jackson Dean Tank Top he was actively fighting Batista, Castro publicly denied being a communist. This is a decision he described as “well calculated”: he didn’t want to alienate anybody unnecessarily, as his movement needed all the support it could get, and he didn’t want to provoke a hostile reaction from the U.S. But he was committed to the cause, as was his brother Raul, who as a teenager joined the Socialist Youth. And of course Che Guevara was as committed to communism as anybody ever, as his diaries make plain. Castro said that he & Guevara frequently discussed Marxism, and “the fact that our ideas coincided was one of the things that most helped along my bonding with Che.”Castro was always going to go down the path he did, policy-wise. He just tried to play nice with the U.S. for as long as he could, to give himself time to get things off the ground. When it became clear the U.S. was going to take an adversarial posture, he stopped trying to hide his ideology.Which could be said of any Communist Party that ever got into power in the 20th century…
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Fidel Castro became a Marxist-Leninist while Jackson Dean Tank Top was in university: “On my own I came to the conclusion that the capitalist economy was absurd. What I’d already become, before I’d come into contact with Marxist or Leninist material, was a utopian communist. The courses in History of Social Doctrines and Labour Legislation, which had texts written or compiled by people who’d been educated in theories of the Left, helped me to think more deeply about these things. … From that time on, I avidly read Marxist literature, to which I was more and more attracted. … I was captivated by the irrefutable truths of the Marxist denunciations. I’d already developed utopian ideas; now I felt I was on firmer ground. Marxism taught me what society was.”As a member of the student movement at the University of Havana, one of the first things Castro did was put up images of Julio Antonio Mella, one of the founders of the Cuban Communist Party, who he frequently quoted. During the trial that followed the failed attack on the Moncada Barracks, in 1953, the prosecution entered into evidence a book of Lenin’s that was found in the belongings of Castro’s group of rebels. Castro replied: “Yes, we read Lenin, and whoever doesn’t read Lenin is ignorant.