I recall in January, 1959 sitting with a group of University of California students as we watched Fidel Castro drive out the hated dictator, Batista, and hopefully bring democracy to the people of Cuba. He came across as a modern Robin Hood who was going to bring peace and prosperity to Cubans. Alas, that was the dream, and the reality was different. He preached for a new world in which the under class finally was able to share the riches of society. He promised to end dictatorship and replace it with a democracy.
The years passed, and Fidel became much of what he had overthrown. Yes, he did bring education to all, yes, he did bring excellent medical care to all. BUT, his economics changed Cuba from a nation in which the top five percent lived in comfort to a nation in which ALL(except for government bureaucrats) lived a life without comforts. He never was able to create a Communist economy that resulted in high standard of living for all. His promise of ‘democracy’ was transformed into a dictatorship in which those who disagreed did so in prison.
Yes, many Cubans will feel sad that the only ruler they had known for fifty years is now dead. It is up to his brother, Raul, to return to the original promise of a democracy and a dynamic economy that brings a good life to ALL CUBANS.