Fidel Castro, RIP
Fidel Castro and Che Guevara led a people’s rebellion against Fulgencio Batista, who had established himslf as a dictator in a military coup in 1952. In 1959 the Batista regime collapsed.
According to Wikipedia, “Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans. Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large US-based multinationals who were awarded lucrative contracts. To quell the growing discontent amongst the populace—which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations—Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. For several years until 1959, the Batista government received financial, military, and logistical support from the United States.”
The US government had the option of accepting the Cuban Revolution and working with the new leaders. Instead, Washington drove Cuba into Soviet arms by denouncing Castro as a communist and a dictator, by imposing sanctions that have outlived Castro, and by preparing plans for regime change.