Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro, 1971

On February 24, 2008, after nearly 50 years in power, Fidel Castro retired as President of Cuba. He served as Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and President from 1976 to 2008. He died in November, 2016.

Karsh photographed Castro in 1971. He wrote: “I arrived in Havana on the twenty-sixth of July, Cuba’s national holiday, in time to hear this charismatic speaker address thousands of people in a rousing endorsement of the benefits of the Revolution. It was, for Castro, a short speech-two-and-a-half hours instead of his customary six. For the next three days, my companion and tour guide was Celia Sanchez, Cuba’s wiry, energetic Secretary of State. From the three sites Ms. Sanchez offered for photography, I chose a simple ceremonial room, its stark walls and bookshelves suggesting a barracks, which turned out to be Castro’s favorite office.”

See more portraits of Fidel Castro.