US Should Have Hugged Castro to Death
Dictator relied on angry giant to the north to keep people afraid
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2008 12:23 PM CST
In a file photo Fidel Castro exhales cigar smoke during a March 1985 interview at his presidential palace in Havana. Ailing leader Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president early Tuesday Feb . 19, 2008,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Fidel Castro has left power, but his legacy endures because the US never did what it took to eliminate his regime: embrace it. Fidel survived for decades because his people were afraid of the angry superpower to the north, writes Newsweek’s Christopher Dickey. Had America embraced him, the Cuban people might have dared to hope for more than his regime could provide.

Instead, the US has "has continued to oblige you, Fidel, by rattling the saber at your country or slamming the door on it, or both," Dickey writes. He contrasts Cuba with Iran, Syria, and Saddam’s Iraq. For them, as for Castro, all that mattered was staying in power. What's more, he laments, "I do not expect enlightenment to arrive in Washington any time soon."