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Before Guevara became the icon of rebellion that adorns the walls of student digs across the world, Che was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution. An Argentine Marxist and former physician, he survived the opening drama of the Granma invasion of Cuba and lived hidden in the Sierra Maestra mountains. He learned military tactics from guerrilla networks and of the problems in Cuba from the people. Three years later Che was made Comandante of a second army column and become known as ‘Castro’s brain’. A bold fighter and a decisive but divisive leader, he would reinforce the infrastructure of the country and educate his troops but also brutally punish suspected defectors, informers, and spies. He was instrumental in the Revolution’s victory and an expert at hit-and-run tactics, leading from the front quite recklessly against Batista’s army.
Castro, the determined leader of the Cuban Revolution, directed his guerrilla war from the Sierra Maestra, eventually defeating Batista’s forces in 1959. He assumed control as prime minister and later president, making Cuba a one-party communist state. Castro faced stern opposition from the United States, survived assassination attempts, defended against the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and was a key player in the Cuban Missile Crisis. A truly polarising character and leader, this miniature can be used to represent him throughout the Revolution and into his earlier years leading Cuba.