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Fidel Castro Overthrows Cuban Dictator, 1959

After Castro leads a revolution to oust Gen. Fulgencio Batista, "Time" magazine ponders the future of the island nation under new leadership.

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    January 1959
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In mustering up support for the Cuban Revolution, Castro had promised to reinstate political and civil liberties. Yet, as commander in chief of the armed forces and then premier, Castro and his one-party government exercised a dictatorial control over the country. Dissidents or perceived enemies were killed or imprisoned.

Castro replaced Cuba’s capitalist economy with a socialist state, took control of properties and businesses owned by people in the United States, and established close ties with the United States’ Cold War rival, the Soviet Union. Strained relations with the United States would lead to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion attempt in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.


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