In October 1945 Fidel enrolled in [node:60657 link Havana University law school, where he plunged into politics as a student leader. Fidel earned his first front-page newspaper appearance following his first public speech, denouncing President Grau, on November 27, 1946. In 1947, Fidel was invited to help organize Edward Chibás’s Ortodoxo party. He stopped attending law school and rose rapidly to prominence, including as head of his revolutionary group, Orthodox Radical Action.
The period was exceedingly violent and Fidel never went anywhere without a gun. Fidel was soon on the police hit list, and several attempts were made on his life. In February 1949, Fidel was accused of assassinating a political rival. After being arrested and subsequently released on “conditional liberty,” he went into hiding.
In March, he flew to Bogotá to attend the Ninth Inter-American Conference, where foreign ministers were to sign the charter of the Organization of American States. Soon enough, Fidel was in the thick of demonstrations opposing the organization as a scheme for U.S. domination. One week later, while he was on his way to meet Jorge Eliécer Gaitán (leader of the opposition Progressive Liberal Party), Gaitán was assassinated. Bogotá erupted in riots. Fidel was drawn in and, arming himself with a tear-gas shotgun, found himself at the vanguard of the Revolution. Inevitably, he made headline news.
On October 12, 1949, Fidel married a philosophy student named Mirta Díaz-Balart. They honeymooned extravagantly—even staying in the Waldorf-Astoria—for several weeks in the United States. Fidel, the consummate opportunist, may have married for political gain: Mirta’s father was mayor of Banes, a Cuban congressman, and a close friend of Fulgencio Batista, who gave the couple US$1,000 for their honeymoon. (Mirta’s brother, Rafael, headed Batista’s youth organization and would later be named Batista’s Minister of the Interior, in charge of the secret police. He fled Cuba after the Revolution; his son keeps the right-wing flame burning as a U.S. congressman from Florida.)
In November, Fidel gave a suicidal speech in which he admitted his past associations with gangsterism then named all the gangsters, politicians, and student leaders profiting from the “gangs’ pact.” In fear for his life, Fidel left Cuba for the United States.
He returned four months later to cram for a multiple degree. In September 1950, Fidel graduated with the title of Doctor of Law.