Fidel Castro quotes: 'A revolution is not a bed of roses' - the Cuban leader in his own words
Fidel Castro, leader of the revolution in Cuba, has died at the age of 90.
Memorable quotes made him one of the world’s most outspoken statesmen:
"Condemn me. It is of no importance. History will absolve me."
- As a young lawyer, defending himself at trial in 1953 for his near-suicidal assault on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba
"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'm 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 a 1959 interview with CBS's Edward Murrow, 30 days after the revolution
"A revolution is not a bed of roses. A revolution is a struggle between the future and the past." 1959
"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." Announcing in December 1985 that he had stopped smoking cigars
"With what morality can the [US] leaders talk of human rights in a country where there are millionaires and beggars, where blacks face discrimination, women are prostituted, and great masses of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans and Latin Americans are deprecated, exploited and humiliated?" 1978, speech delivered to the World Communist Youth Conference.
"I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure (Jesus Christ)." 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." 1989
"We do not know anything about this. We, gentlemen, to tell the truth, do not even know what to charge." In 1990, on the development of international tourism In Cuba
"We have to stick to the facts and, simply put, the socialist camp has collapsed." 1991
"There's nothing strange about it. I wish I had as many opportunities to welcome personalities as important as this one." In 1994, praising the reception given to Hugo Chavez upon his arrival in Havana after he was released from prison for leading a failed 1992 coup. Later, Chavez became Castro's closest ally
"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." 1998
"One of the greatest benefits of the revolution is that even our prostitutes are college graduates." To director Oliver Stone in his 2003 documentary
"I have concluded – maybe a little late – that speeches must be short," 2000 - reference to his famous marathon speeches
"I realized that my true destiny would be the war that I was going to have with the United States." Castro's opening quote in Stone's second documentary on the leader from 2004
"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." While attending a summit of Latin American presidents in Argentina in 2006
"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." 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." Writing in one of his newspaper columns in 2008
"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." In 2010 during an interview with U.S. journalist Jeffrey Goldberg. Castro later said his comment was taken out of context.
"Russia and China know the world’s problems much better than the US because they were obliged to endure the terrible wars imposed on them by fascism’s blind egoism.
"I have no doubt that they, given their historical traditions and revolutionary experience, will make the greatest effort to avoid war and contribute to the peaceful development of Venezuela, Latin America, Asia and Africa," a 2015 letter to Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro.
"I am nearing 90. I will soon pass away like everyone else. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of Cuban communists are an evidence that, in case if we work with pathos and dignity, we can produce material and cultural values people need," a 2016 speech at a congress of the Cuban Communist Party.