By Stan Hastey
Cuba stands at a crossroads unlike any other in the 59 years since a rebel army headed by Fidel Castro and his younger brother, Raul, defeated the supposedly far superior armed forces under the command of Fulgencio Batista. Batista, the last in a series of corrupt and repressive Cuban presidents backed and kept in power by the United States for the previous half century, fled the island nation as three columns of rebel soldiers bore down on Havana during Christmas week 1958. Declaring victory on New Year’s Day 1959, the three commanding officers—Raul Castro, Ernesto (Che) Guevara, and Camilo Cienfuegos—welcomed Fidel to Havana one week later, where the charismatic leader formally declared victory before a massive crowd of supporters convinced that a new day had dawned on the economically and educationally deprived nation.
Right: Cubans voting in precinct elections, November 2018.
Among the undeniably significant achievements of the Castro brothers’ revolution have been the virtual elimination of illiteracy by means of a system of public education funded and overseen by the government from kindergarten through university graduate studies and a public health system premised on prevention that boasts a lower infant mortality rate than that of the United States. These are measurable successes. Read more ›