December 13, 2008 5:05 PM

Cuba at 50: Has a half-century of revolution improved lives?

As the Jan. 1 anniversary of the Cuban revolution's triumph approaches, many of the social welfare achievements that were the trophies of the communist regime have rusted, beset by years of failed economic policy, waves of mass exodus, and Cuba's inability to recover from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Still, the revolution that ousted Fulgencio Batista remains one of the Western Hemisphere's most significant events of the last century.

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