Dictatorship, if simply described, is the process of one human being taking over a country or a piece of land through force and indicating to every in that country that they are in control. In the literal sense, dictation is telling someone to copy something word by word. They should not miss out on any detail. There is a strict line that the receiver is said to follow, and they can not deter from it. Dictation is not always bad, and neither is every dictator.
In the history of autocratic leadership, people did not always turn out to be extensively controlling and did not always have gruesome ways of establishing their regime. However, in the modern world, where everyone is driven by the lust for power and fortune, it is highly unlikely that they will stay loyal to their country and its best interests. Power corrupts people more quickly than one might guess. When a single human being is given the power to decide what happens to their nation, they will somewhere begin to exploit it. They do not have to answer to anyone, and the nation is oppressed to give up control.
This affects the country and its people in multiple ways. Many people who are forced to live in countries where they are not valued will lose their sense of patriotism and hope in its establishment. They may not hate the country itself but, essentially, the people who are given control. They will try their best to get out of that state as soon as possible.
The economic growth is also pretty much stagnant. Like the revolutionization in China did with its people. The country was economically stagnant for years and did not recover for a few years after freeing itself. They were not rising to their potential and did not utilize their resources to the fullest. Many countries under dictatorship do not prosper as well as they can economically. For example, in Africa, certain states are under a dictatorship, and its people are not allowed to enter lucrative businesses. The corruption in the internal systems is so prominent that filling for rights for ownership is impossible. If you get the official legal papers signed, somehow, people who do have roots in the business will not let you enter the market. You would be lucky if you were left alone after such an attempt.
Dictatorships suffocate the population, and killing someone who messes with them is not a big deal. People are killed for simply speaking for their rights and what they want. Everything, from what can be eaten to what they can wear, is predetermined by the leaders. It is a prison for those who live there, and somehow, they must break out.
An example of Cuba can be taken from My Cuba Libre, a book by George Fowler. It states what people have to go through because of Fidel Castro. He may have passed on, but his roots still have very prominent control over the country. People are slowly realizing that this is not the way they want to live and have started protesting for their rights. Dying is not something they fear anymore but rather, living life the same way is something they despise. The effects of dictatorship are severe and leave people traumatized, fearing to breathe freely.