Cubans Mark 50 Years of Fidel

Celebrations sobered after tough year for Cuba
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2008 5:44 PM CST

New Year's Day marks a sober occasion for Cuban-Americans: Fidel Castro's takeover 50 years ago and the exile and family separations that ensued. Many Cubans once hoped the dictator would bring them prosperity. Today, with their beloved island in decay and many lives lost in attempts to flee, few of the 850,000 transplants to South Florida have cause to celebrate, the New York Times reports.

Castro still has his believers, evidenced by travel agency packages that "celebrate five decades of resistance." But the merriment will be scaled down in hurricane-battered Cuba, whose economy recently slumped, the Telegraph adds. Tomorrow, Raul Castro, 77, will speak from the same Santiago balcony where Fidel claimed victory in 1959. The 82-year-old ailing leader isn't expected to attend.
(More Cuba stories.)

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