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Fidel Castro is Dead, What Happens in Cuba?

December 6, 2016
Plain English Version
Fidel Castro speaking. Photo credit: GETTY

Fidel Castro speaking. Photo credit: GETTY

Fidel Castro died at the age of ninety last week. He marched into Havana almost sixty years ago. He took over the government.

Castro promised a democracy for the Cuban people. Instead, he ruled the country as a dictator. His reign lasted for the next fifty years. Eight years ago he handed the country over to his brother, Raúl Castro.

The biggest decision Fidel Castro made was to ally his country with Russia. Some say the US pushed him to do this. Others say he was a Communist and that working with Russia was his goal.

Two things happened during Castro’s rule. First, thousands of Cubans fled the island. Most came to America. Second, Castro’s government took over many companies. He turned Cuba into a socialist state.

The United States declared an embargo on goods coming from or going to Cuba. This made Cuba’s economy dependent on Russia. The result was a poor country. It is still a poor country.

Castro did make good on some important promises. Cuba has health care for all. It has good schools.

Castro was a political dictator. People who were against him went to jail. Many died. There is no freedom of opinion in Cuba. There are no political parties. There is just the Communist Party.

The embargo or boycott of Cuban goods went on for all these years. Cuba stayed poor. It blamed the US as the cause of its problems. The Soviet Union collapsed almost twenty years ago. Russia stopped buying most of Cuba’s sugar. It stopped sending much of its oil to Cuba. Cuba could not pay for it.

President Obama decided it was time to mend the fence with Cuba. He went to Cuba. He promised to start trade with Cuba. Many younger Cubans in America support that decision. Many older Cubans are against it.

In the US, business has generally supported the opening of Cuba as a market for their products. Those on the political right and many others said Cuba is still not a free country. Most on the left said the embargo had not worked. They said it was time to change policy.

Cuba says it will stay a Communist nation. Now it is up to a new president of the US to decide which way this country goes.

Source: The New York Times

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