January 1, 1959 should have been a joyous day for Cubans; Fulgencio Batista was leaving and they were getting a new leader, Fidel Castro. But something went terribly wrong, says Otto Reich, former assistant secretary of state and special envoy for Western Hemisphere affairs under Pres. George W. Bush. Very quickly, Batista's coarse abuse of power was eclipsed by a system never before seen in the Caribbean: a totalitarian dictatorship.
Like many Latin American dictators, Fidel Castro fit the traditional authoritarian model: he was brutal, corrupt and dishonest; but he was something more, explains Reich:
Publish date: 18 February 2009
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