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Jan. 1, 2009, marks the 50th anniversary of the day Fidel Castro and his communist revolutionaries seized control of Cuba.
The revolution and its original leader, Fidel Castro, have been a lasting thorn in the side of the United States and a poster child for numerous socialist revolutions to follow.
However, the celebration was a low-key affair. Last year, on top of the global financial crisis, a trio of hurricanes pummeled Cuba, causing $10 billion in damages. The storms left many Cuban citizens without homes, jobs and electricity.
For 18 months, Raul Castro has been president, replacing his ailing brother Fidel. During that time, small changes have been made, such as the ability to purchase cellphones and DVD players. Cuban life is overall the same, including the animosity between the Cuba and the U.S.
Despite recent hopes that President-elect Barack Obama and Raul Castro can work to lift the 46-year-old trade embargo against Cuba, Mr. Castro warned in his anniversary speech that the U.S. “enemy will never stop being aggressive, dominant and treacherous” (AFP).
Mr. Castro looked back on 50 years and called them a struggle. “The next 50 years…will also be of permanent struggle,” he said (ibid.).