Fidel Castro’s death over the weekend produced cries of lamentation in Havana and jubilation in Miami. He had been declining for years; long gone was the legendary stamina that carried him through four-hour public speeches, all-night bull sessions, and endless provocations. On the few occasions he was wheeled out for public appearances in recent years, he seemed crotchety and frail.
For example, last March, as millions of Cubans met U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba with curiosity, Fidel took to the state newspaper, Granma, to complain. Rather than considering Obama’s overtures as a new opportunity, he replayed an ancient litany of Cuban grievances, from Spain’s practice of slavery and the Americans’ Bay of Pigs invasion to vague accusations of Obama being racist. “We do not need the empire to give us anything,” he concluded.
But Castro was wrong: Cuba has relied on empires
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