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Dr Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born 1926) was Cuba's president until 2008. He came to power in the country in 1959 when, as a leader of the July 26 Movement, he ousted the US-backed president Fulgencio Batista and became Prime Minster. On 3 December 1976, he became president of Cuba. Castro paid particular attention to education and healthcare in the country, but also developed his regime in a totalitarian direction, which led e.g. the US to introduce sanctions. Castro is said to have survived 637 assassination attempts.