With yesterday’s surprising news that Fidel Castro is stepping down as Cuba’s “president” the Wall Street Journal looks back at 49 years of Fidel’s rule in a fabulous editorial today:

Fidel’s legacy includes ruthless oppression, but less widely appreciated is that he was also an economic incompetent. In January 1959, Cuba had the third highest per-capita GDP in Latin America. Today the island is a malnourished backwater where staples like milk, sugar and eggs are rationed, severe shortages exist in the medical system and electricity is a luxury. Formerly a dependent of the Soviet Union, Cuba now begs at the feet of Venezuela, which gives it as much as $2 billion in aid annually. The nation nonetheless struggles to get by, and young Cubans routinely take their chances with the security police and shark-infested waters rather than face life under the Castro brothers.

More here.