Coming to power after deposing the corrupt Batista, Castro disenchanted the US after it became clear he was leading a Marxist revolution. The US tried various schemes to depose or assassinate Castro, culminating in the disastrous “Bay of Pigs” invasion. Ultimately, communist Cuba would lend support to Marxist governments in Angola and Ethiopia.
Time: Early War
Removed after event: Yes
One of the key routes into Central America. Owning a battleground adjacent to the US (and 1/3 of the Central American battlegrounds) is worth quite a bit. Coupled with a successful Panama coup and/or Liberation Theology, it can lead to an easy Central America domination.
On the other hand, playing Fidel too early can turn CIA Created into a DEFCON suicide card, if you don’t have any other influence in Africa or the Americas. So it’s often best played for Ops on Turns 1 or 2 (unless you’ve already Decolonized or De-Stalinized into South America/Africa), and worth the event if drawn on Turn 3 or later.
At some point in the Mid War, it’s crucial to take Haiti and/or Nicaragua, as otherwise it’s very easy to realign you out of Cuba with no easy way back in.
For the reasons above, on Turns 1 or 2, it’s probably better to use Fidel’s 2 Ops (in case the USSR drew CIA Created) than to send him to space only to see him return soon thereafter. But if you draw him on Turn 3 or later, he’s worth sending him to space: by this point the USSR is going to have influence in the Americas or Africa anyway, and you might as well deny the USSR a free 2VP (or more) and foothold in Central America until at least Turn 7. Whether you’re then willing to take Cuba depends entirely on whether you have Central America Scoring and your tolerance for risk.
If you do play Fidel for Ops and have the luxury of Ops to spare, you can try to realign Fidel out with the 2 Ops: you have a 34.88% chance of eliminating him entirely. Your odds are of course greatly improved if you take Nicaragua (and maybe Haiti, with Puppet Governments), but then the USSR can just coup you out of those 1-stability countries before you get a chance to realign. So if you’re keen on realigning Fidel, consider playing 1 into Nicaragua on a final Action Round and present the USSR with the dilemma of couping Nicaragua or couping a battleground next turn.