Let me say right off the bat; I am not a Castro apologist. But then I am most definitely not a US apologist. I think that there is too much polarizing in this world and this is a bit of what I think might thaw the frost a bit.
Cuba is not an evil country, and neither is it a perfect one. No place is, including the US.
Political dissidents were jailed and killed in the years since the 1959 revolution.
Personal wealth was stripped from its citizens.
Cuban missile crisis.
I'd like to point out that Cuba has one of the best healthcare and education systems in the world. If I am an upper middle class white guy from CT, sure I'm doing pretty well in these areas too, but you can't tell me that a kid in a small town with lower income blue-collar parents is. 1/4 of this country has no health insurance at all.
I also wonder how much better life would be for Cubans in the largest economic power in the world didn't spend it's time choking off trade. The US does not have sanctions against Cuba because of Castro's human rights violations (don't even get me started on the US trying to remove the communists by force). There are plenty of countries in the world with horrible human rights records that we don't give a shit about.
They have the sanctions there because they want Castro's government to fail so that American companies can once again make money and in my opinion rape Cuba economically. That's all this is about. Their still pissed that Castro expropriated the US investment in that country. A country that before Castro was basically a US banana republic for sugar and nightlife. Anybody seen "Guys and Dolls" lately? That's why they supported Batista, whom I can assure you, was no kinder to the Cuban people, only toward US investment.
Now, all political systems have advantages and disadvantages. Communism probably doesn't look too great to people in good economic standing and power, because it means that they will have less. But it may allow a much larger group of people to have a higher standard of living. Nazi Germany may have been a nightmare, obviously especially for Jews. But fascism did take a country that was reeling from the Treaty of Versailles, with exponential economic inflation, and put them in the position to come a hairs breadth of taking over Europe 20 years later. It may have not been successful for the individual, but if you look at a nation as a living organism, well it certainly was a successful system.
All of this is to say that we need information, openness, and communication now even more than ever. The 20th century led the rise of at least 3 major outlooks on how people should govern themselves. Humanity also created innumerable ways to kill each other, in the form of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Many of which the US either invented or led the way in developing, so our hands are more dirty that anybody elses.
If there is a future for us all, it's in working together and being able to make rational, fair, unselfish decisions. That will keep all of us much safer than $400 Billion (with a "B") we spend each year on the Orwellian term "Defense"