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Fidel Castro goes

A thorn in the US flesh for so long, it is unlikely that Fidel Castro’s going will make any major difference to the relationship between the United States and Cuba. There was a time when it was believed that if Fidel could just go (whether resigns, or assassinated by a CIA supported plot), then Cuba could be made to see the light and come over to the right sight. As of now, as Cuba’s illness and the ascendancy of Raoul Castro has shown, there is very little inclination for Cuba to change direction. There was a time after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, that it seemed likely that Cuba would face a turn for the worse, having been cut off from its long term supported. However, Fidel Castro, through dint of hard work and the ever-present state apparatus, managed to prevent the country from changing direction.

Fidel Castro’s resignation as president and commander-in-chief of Cuba after almost 50 years is unlikely to trigger any immediate transformation of his island nation. Since handing over power to his brother, Raul, in July 2006, Fidel Castro has continued to influence policy through periodic commentaries published in state media.
Castro, a lawyer by training, ruled the nation of 11 million people since the 1959 revolution. He improved literacy and health care for the island’s poor, while imprisoning thousands of dissidents, seizing private property and sparking an exodus of Cubans who braved treacherous, shark-infested waters on rickety, homemade boats to flee for the U.S.
The Cuban leader took his place on the world stage at the height of the Cold War by making his country an outpost of the Soviet Union only 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Florida. In Latin America and Africa, Castro gave military and political support to revolutionary groups and Marxist governments for more than three decades after taking power.

Castro was also lucky in that he managed to make common cause with another strict anti-American dictator, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Chavez, puffed up by the increase in the price of oil makes anti-Americanism a litmus test to be a friend, and who better than Cuba. Towards that end, he has supported Cuba both morally, and through providing oil.
Castro did a few good things for his country, making education and health a priority; but like all dictators, he is happy when you believe what he believes. If you start thinking of words like democracy, fairness, and personal freedoms, then Fidel is not exactly a friend, more like a remorseless tyrant. And that is the legacy he will leave behind, of a dictator who forced people to brave shark-infested open waters to get to freedom.

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