But ever since the Cuban Revolutionary War, President Fidel Castro has enjoyed a love/hate relationship with the world perhaps more than any other figure in modern history. He is loathed and condemned by my Western countries while being considered a modern hero in many third world countries. Yet, even though many people condemn Cuba's actions as being Fidel's Cuba, in reality, the executive branch yields little power in the country and he was but the figurehead of the Cuban government. The National Assembly of People's Power actually acts as the supreme parliamentarian power in Cuba, with the Council of State assuming that role when they aren't in session.
And the way that Cuba has met its dilemmas has been through the same group. They're the ones who decided to stop sugar cane planting in the early 1990s, for example, when oil prices had skyrocketed and sugar cane was at rock bottom and the Soviet Union had just collapsed. Some 70 different sugar cane centrals had to be shut down as a result. But Cuba reacts differently than other Western nations to such changing needs and rather than just firing the employees of the unneeded plantations, Cuba has actively pursued finding them another job or sending them back to school for additional training at government expense. During the entire transition time, the workers are given their previous salary by the government.
The amount of transformation that President Castro has seen over these past 50 years is nothing short of staggering. It has turned out to be far greater than even his own dreams allowed him to contemplate in 1959. To begin with, his forces which numbered in only a few thousand at best, along with the will of the Cuban people, brought down a vicious tyrant who had more than 80,000 troops at his disposal and who was a complete puppet to the biggest superpower at the time.
One of Cuba's first acts was to turn the land over to the citizens. It then defeated the imperialist forces at the Bay of Pigs and has withstood countless continual threats from the US as well as all the chemical, biological and bomb attacks they backed.
Even though Cuba has been under a strict economic blockade for nearly 50 years, it still managed to end illiteracy, provide free education to 100% of all children, increase the overall educational level from 9th grade to 12th grade, and provide computers and computer technology to all schools. Cuba has brought its infant mortality rate down from 60 to 6, increased life expectancy by over 15 years, and brought its health care system to a level that can rival any nation in the world. Cuba has the highest number of physicians per capita in the world.