Brain Food: How he made his pile - Fidel Castro, Cuban President

Who is he? Cuban socialist dictator since 1959. Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $550 million - and Castro threatened to sue.

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Last Updated: 25 May 2016

How did he make his millions? Castro led the revolution against Batista's fascist regime, becoming Cuba's leader at just 33, and swiftly passed laws nationalising $850 million worth of US-owned property and business.

His fortune derives from state-owned operations such as pharmaceutical company Medicuba and the sale of assets such as Havana Club rum for $50 million in 1993. If his hard-line communism hadn't completely destroyed Cuba's economy, Castro could be worth billions by now.

The secret of his success? From an early age, Castro showed high intelligence and ego. He has survived by surrounding himself with military figures and reportedly having thousands of political opponents killed. His fiery propaganda and speeches keep the masses on his side. However, as Castro approaches 80 and tourism grows, Cuba is changing. Will his legacy survive?

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