Since 1945 he was actively linked to the student’s political struggle at the University of Havana. In 1947 he took part of the organized expedition to fight the Trujillo tyranny in the Dominican Republic. He participated by the side of the Colombian people in the April 1948 insurrection in Bogotá.
In 1950 he took a PhD in civil right and a degree in diplomatic right.
He was a founder of the Cuban People Party (Orthodox). Starting from 1948, he vigorously denounced the corruption, official abandonment and gangsterism to which the country was subjected. After the 1952 coup d'etat, he organized and trained a group of young people, whom he led on the attack of the Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo garrisons in July 26, 1953. He served a 22 months sentence, and soon after his release, as a result of a strong popular pressure, he founded the July 26 Movement.
In July 1955, he went into exile in Mexico to organize the people’s armed insurrection against the Batista dictatorship. On December 2, 1956, on board of the Granma yacht and heading an expeditionary group, he disembarked in Cuba and started the revolutionary war in Sierra Maestra. He commanded the fight of the rebellious forces and the July 26 Movement all over the country in a 25-months war.
When the victorious revolutionary fight concluded on January 1st, 1959, he became the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. On February 13, 1959 he was appointed First Minister of the Revolutionary Government.
He commanded and participated in all the actions for the defence of the country and the Revolution in the events of foreign military aggressions or the activities of counterrevolutionary groups inside the country. He especially lead the Bay of Pigs victory in April of 1961. The invasion had been organized by the US Central Intelligence Agency. He also commanded the Cuban people during the dramatic days of the 1962 Missiles Crisis.
On behalf of the revolutionary power on April 16 1961 he proclaimed the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution.
He held the position of Secretary General of the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations, and that of Secretary General of the of the Cuba’s Socialist Revolution United Party. Since the creation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba in October 1965, he was appointed First Secretary and member of the Political Bureau, in which position he has been ratified by the four Party Congresses held since then.
He was elected Deputy to the People`s Power National Assembly during successive periods of session since that organ was created in 1976, and since he has been ratified by the Assembly in the positions of President of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers.
He has presided over Cuban official missions in more than 50 countries. He has presided over the Cuban delegations to the Ibero-American summits, several Summits of the Non-Aligned Countries, the Ecological Rio Summit, the Copenhagen on Social Development Summit, the Istanbul Human Settlements Summit and several sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, among them, the commemorative session on the 50 anniversary of the organization.
Between 1979 and 1983 he was President of the Non-Aligned Countries.
He has been given more than a hundred foreign and Cuban awards and dozens of honorary academic degrees from several Latin American and European universities.
He has promoted global consideration of the Third World struggle against the current international economic order, in particular against the foreign debt and the waste of resources as a consequence of military expenses.
He has headed the efforts of the Cuban people to face the effects of the blockade imposed to Cuba by the United States and the economic consequences of the collapse of the European socialist community. He has also promoted the tenacious action of the Cubans to overcome the serious difficulties resulting from these factors and their resistance during the so-called Special Period.
Through the years, he has impelled and directed the fight of the Cuban people for the revolutionary process consolidation, its advance toward socialism, the revolutionary forces’ unity and that of the whole people, the economic and social transformations, the development of education, health, sports, culture and science, as well as the country defence, the facing of external aggressions, the implementation of an active foreign policy of principles, the solidarity actions for the international revolutionary movement and the strengthening of the people’s revolutionary and internationalist conscience.