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Castro inherited a weak economy and made the best out of the situation
When Castro came into power, the economy was very weak. There were also many social and political pressures. Castro made the best out of the situation which allowed the economy to survive and be as best as it could.
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Many historical economic challenges existed in Cuba. Castro inherited a weak one-crop economy mixed with the racial scars of slavery. It was very difficult to get capital to invest in infrastructure and welfare. These historic and continuing challenges led Castro to adapt a centrally planned economy where state ownership dominated because he perceived this system as the best solution. Another challenge occurred after Castro won the presidency against the former president Fulgencio Batista. Batista and his associates fled the country after their loss, stealing millions of pesos from the national bank and the treasury. This incident also limited the country's ability to public spending and private investments. During Castro’s presidency, the other challenge was the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Not only the U.S. was the main importer of Cuban goods before the embargo, but Cuba imported 95% of capital goods and 100% of its spare parts from the United States. Cuba’s economic challenges compounded when the Soviet Union, the later ally to Cuba, disintegrated in 1991. After 1991, Cuba lost 85% of trade and investments, and the GDP plummeted 35%. In light of these conditions, Castro did his best in saving the economy through some internal advancements like in the biotechnology industry as well as through some foreign policy. He made these achievements despite many challenges Cuba had to endure for more than 50 years.
Fidel Castro worsened the Cuban economy. The economy would have bloomed if he allowed a free market. Opponents describe him as a leader who locked people in socialist prisons and threw away the keys. Free market incentives through capitalism would have allowed economic growth and increased people's living standards. Additionally, being more of a free market country may have changed the nature of the relationship between Cuba and the United States, decreasing the possibility of the detrimental embargo. Castro chose his social ideals at the expense of the economy. 
Rejecting the premises