A Fidel Castrophe

Noah Rogers and Nathan Dubrow

To some, he was a great leader; to others, he was a ruthless dictator. Fidel Castro was the revolutionary who brought Cuba into its current state, which is a one-party, socialist state under Communist Party rule. Cuba has had this form of government since 1959 when Fidel Castro, along with his brother Raul and friend Che Guevara, took over the government in a revolutionary fashion. The prior leader of Cuba was a profound dictator by the name of Fulgencio Batista, who had exploited the people and products of Cuba for personal gain. Fidel Castro decided to make a stand against Batista and became successful in doing so after partaking in guerrilla warfare. After Castro took control, he became the Prime Minister of Cuba, and then took control of the country as president. No matter what you think of him, Fidel Castro did some pretty incredible things.

Fidel Castro passed away on November 25, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. With his life, he took his long and arduous legacy with him. There are many mixed feelings about how he governed his country. Cuba has been governed in a communist fashion since he first took control, and many of the people of Cuba have a strong connection to the government. Most businesses have employees that work for the government, so everything is watched by the government in one way or the other. This showed his way of ruling where he had control over his people.  

Castro’s overall control of his country caused some people and countries to have a deep hatred of him, including the United States. Many people fled Cuba to go to the United States to escape the rule of Castro. If you lived in Cuba and didn’t like the government, there wasn’t much that you could do. There were problems with human-rights abuse in which there are unfair trials and arbitrary imprisonment. These issues have long been known to exist and have had attention brought to them by some human rights organizations.

This caused hatred among his people, and so many came to resent him as their leader. On the other hand, some people are huge supporters of Castro, stating that he was a “Champion of socialism and anti-imperialism.” We talked to Riley Tebbetts, a fellow student at IHS for his take on Castro, “Fidel Castro… was a hero.” His reasoning for this was “He saw the world where everybody was in the same position, where everybody was well off, able to live, and everybody disagreed with him. They thought he was a tyrant.” In the opinion of many, Castro did what he genuinely thought was right. He wanted the overall best for his country, and he pushed for a reform of the country to make it better.  We interviewed Andrew Monroe, a senior at Ipswich High School, “He was a good man for Cuba, bad man for America.”  The reason he believes this is because, “All leaders are good people for their country,” Castro was just doing what he thought was best for Cuba.

The United States government was one who undoubtedly did not like Castro and his regime.  In fact, the U.S. had attempted to overthrow Castro.  They sent an invasion force of of Cubans who had fled from Castro to the U.S., in response to learning that Cuba had acquired nuclear weapons  The mission was a complete failure.  Luckily, the U.S. eventually convinced Cuba to disarm its nuclear arsenal.  However, it showed that there would be great tension between the two nations.  In 1960 the U.S. began a trade embargo on Cuba which would last for fifty-five years, and didn’t end till recently under President Barack Obama.

Whether you believe that Fidel Castro was a good or bad man, you have to observe that he definitely changed things up. He took on a powerful government early in his life and won it over. He changed the course of the country from a dictatorship who profited from his people, to a communist state where there was opportunity for all. Even though it is a communist government, it doesn’t mean that it’s all bad; many good things have come from it. Though there are some positives, there are also negatives that have spawned from the rule of Castro, with a huge dislike among many of his former people. Now that he is gone, changes will occur, which may be good or bad. Time will be the teller of what is to come for Cuba, and the world is waiting to see it.