From 1959 to 1962, about 155,000 people fled Cuba for the United States. Some were Batistianos, rich allies of Batista.
Known as “golden exiles,” they brought along the fortunes they had made from his corrupt regime. Some were wealthy people whose ranches, plantations, or industries had been nationalized.
Many were professionals who were considered a little too prosperous: doctors, lawyers, judges, bankers. And many were middle-class people who were also targets of Castro: office workers, teachers, and civil servants.
The peasants who were the vast majority of Cubans were less inclined to leave. Castro lowered food prices and redistributed land to benefit farm workers. He gave every Cuban access to medical care.
He established schools so that Cuba’s literacy rate is now 94 percent, the highest in Latin America.