He is a great speaker and charismatic leader who gained power legitimately. It is contested whether he has maintained power legitamently.
He made health care available to all people and schooling free. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union Cuba's middle class has been losing support for Fidel Castro. The dissenters of the middle class and those trying to escape the poverty forced by the embargo make up those trying to flee Cuba. Support within the lower class is still strong.
Economically Cuba is a much more equal place to live.However, social freedoms are not as good. There are many of what Amnesty International calls "Prisoners of Conscience." It is illegal to speak against Fidel Castro, even peacefully. Many things such as this are problems in Cuba.
The embargo is a huge blow to Cuba economically, which has repetedly been voted against by the vast majority of the United Nations. The embargo also serves to cover up the social injustices of Cuba as there is less trade coming in and out of Cuba. If the Embargo were ended, Cuba would be a better place to live economically and socially.
The United States had repetedly tried to murder Fidel Castro and even tried to launch an invasion. This invasion became known as the Bay of Pigs. It was unsuccessful as Fidel Castro quickly squelched what support there was and the rest Cuba's population resisted strongly.
Fidel Castro is one of the most successful socialist revolutionary leaders. He transformed Cuba into a much more economically equal place than places like America, but he has been a harsh leader as well. His age is getting up there though and he can't live too much longer. Upon his death, his brother, Raul Castro, will mostly like gain power.
I greatly admire Fidel Castro as a socialist leader, even if I don't agree with everything he did in the name of Communism.
Fidel Castro by his own admission has been a communist since 17, despite what uninformed people write on the internet, he was not "forced into the Soviet sphere" by the US embargo. Rather, the US was one of the first countries to recognize his government after the revolution, and Castro was given a ticker-tape parade in NYC. As always happens after such revolutions, Castro was unable to live up to his Utopian promises. In order to hold power, he suspended human rights. During the heyday of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba had the most repressive laws of any communist country. Habeas Corpus doesn't exist in Cuba. Under laws enacted by Castro, people can be imprisoned indefinitely, even executed, if they have an "appearance" that suggests they may do something immoral. In the 60s, Castro sent people to slave-labor camps for listening to the Beatles, now there's a statue of John Lennon in Havana, why? Because Castro needs green dollars to continue his regime, and Americans & Europeans like to get their picture taken at the statue so they can look cool. Unless something in Cuba is related to tourism or foreign dollars, it is left to rot and crumble.
Twenty percent of Cubans are in prison or exile.
Fidel Castro is a billionaire, and if you support him, you are what HE CALLS a "useful idiot".
Cuban: "If by President you mean dictator and by liberator you mean oppressor, then yes."