Loory: Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba on Jan. 1, 1959, after leading a revolution that overthrew American-supported dictator Fulgencio Battista. Nine American presidents have served since then. Two-thirds of people in Cuba now weren’t born when he took over. Last week, at age 81 and ailing, Castro resigned from Cuba’s presidency and handed power to his younger brother Raul, who is 76. That’s not much of a generation change. Fidel says he will continue writing and publishing his ideas about Cuba and the world. He intends to stay in the limelight. Cubans live in a mismanaged country where the economy is a shambles, the average monthly wage is said to be $15 to $18, energy is scarce, public transportation is shaky and the country’s infrastructure is in disrepair. However, health care is good and inexpensive. Life expectancy for Cubans is similar to that for North Americans, and infant mortality is considerably better. The literacy rate is almost 100 percent, indicating a good education system. Communism doesn’t seem to have worked any better in Cuba than it did in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, and Fidel’s Cuba has been under a difficult economic embargo from the U.S. for virtually all of its 49 years. What might happen in a Raul Castro regime that will be different from a Fidel-led Cuba?
Stealth reforms calm Cubans
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