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Why study the Cuban Revolution?
 • It presents us with an example of what
   a revolutionary state has tried to do
 • How it went about it
 • And what resulted from the effort
 • Other countries will try to copy it.
 • Because it is on an island: it was the
   center also between superpowers.
 • Location
 • Self-containment and self-sufficiency
Spanish Colonial Period
 •   Springboard
 •   Offered little incentive for settlement
 •   Population settled in small towns
 •   Institutions not as strong as Peru or Mexico
 •   Catholic Church
 •   1760s led to dramatic changes in Cuba
     – Economic
     – Social
     – Political
 • Demand for sugar rose, so did the need
   for labor
 • Slave labor
 • Eastern labor
 • Sugar areas
 • The tension between the Spaniards and
   the Cubans created problems
 • The Cubans were barred from political
Struggles Begin
 • In the early 19th century, most of Latin
   America witnessed independence
 • Cuba was different
CUBA did not partake in the revolution
 • 1. Economic prosperity brought about by
   sugar cultivation kept much of the population
 • 2. The defeats suffered by the Spanish
   military forces throughout the hemisphere
   meant that a large proportion of the defeated
   personnel ended up in Cuba.
 • 3. Sugar Planters (and other whites) were
   afraid that a war of independence would be
   transformed into a clave revolt.
1868 War for Independence
  • Led by eastern Cuban farmers
  • The war went on for 10 years
  • The plantations became even more powerful.
  • Simplified class system was created
  • Catholic church sided with the plantation and
    colonial system
  • Created united themes.
  • Overall the “antisugar” mentality dominates
    the thinking of Cuban revolutionists ever
1895 War for Independence…again…
 • Led by the Cuban Revolutionary
   Party (PRC)
 • Under the guidance of Jose
 • The PRC had a decolonization
 • The process would take root
   throughout the Third World in
   the 2nd half of the twentieth
The American Protectorate
 • War of independence did not achieve its goal
 • International situation was very different.
   – US emerged as a world power
   – Manifest Destiny
 • War was lost when Spain and the US went to
   war in 1898
 • Cuba became an integral part of the US
 • Americanization
 • 1899 to 1902 US military ruled over Cuba
Cuban Constitution/Platt Amendment
 • Dictated by the US military authorities.
 • Allowed the US government to pass
   judgment on Cuban policy
 • If it is negative, the US asserted the
   right to intervene militarily to ensure
   that its dictates were honored
A New Regime in Cuba
 • Unilaterally repudiated the
   Platt Amendment in 1933.
   (Sergeants Revolt)
 • Progressive and nationalistic
   reforms followed.
 • Led by Fulgencio Batista
 • Severed the tie between the
   traditional Cuban elite and the
   officer corps
Party Politics
 • Cuban Revolutionary Party died with
 • 1944 a new populist party was elected
   and allowed to rule until 1952
    – Was inspired from the Cuban Revolutionary
      Party and used the same name.
 • Batista displaced it and again
   established a dictatorship.
26th of July Revolutionary Movement
 • 1953-1958 opposition to Batista clustered around this
 • Formed by ex-members of the Cuban People’s Party
    – Also people who were committed to populism, nationalism,
      and general concepts of social justice.
 • Led by Fidel Castro
    – Guerrilla Warfare.
 • First time in Latin America they overthrew a military
 • The US apparently underestimated…
    – The degree to which revolutionaries were committed to
      thorough and rapid social change.
• 5th President of Cuba (1925)
• Modernize Cuba
• Re-elected himself
    – Got a 6 year term
    – Abolished the Vice Presidency
•   Dictator tendencies
•   Won over military
•   US does nothing.
•   Students rise up
•   Machado must leave Cuba in 1933.
          Generation of 1930
• Students that battled
• Inexperienced and
• Cuba put their hope into
  these revolutionaries
• Early 20’s was their age
• They were to bring morality
  to Cuba
• ABC Movement
• October 1940 Batista took office
  as constitutional President
• Launched a large-scale public
  works project
• Increased pay for men in the
• Created a progressive
• 1944 Election
• 1952 Election
           Batista continued
• In power
  – Installed his own offices
  – Held titles
  – Brought education to peasants
  – Built schools
  – Implemented minimum wage
• Batista’s Justifications for the overthrow
• Election of 1954
     The Economy under Batista
•   Foreign investment increased
•   Developed tourist centers
•   Cattle industry expanded
•   Sugar production hurt Cuba
•   Cuba depended on the US for trade
•   Failed to develop a solid political base
•   Papers started to write about Batista
•   He cracked down on the movement
           End of Batista
• 26th of July movement
• Riots in 1955
• November 27th 1955 the student
  organization (FEU) organized a ceremony
• December 2nd 1955 – Students beaten
• December 4th 1955- Baseball
• Terrorism
• Castro released from jail
              Che Guavara
• Born in Argentine
• Physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla
  leader, military theorist.
• Medical student
• Experiences changed him
• World Revolution
• Joined Castro
• “Castro’s Brain”
• Set up Schools
• Radio Rebelde
• After the Revolution
  – Guevara charged with purging the Batista
  – Castro sent Guevara on a three-month tour
  – Became the minister of Finance as President
    of the National Bank
  – Organization of American States
             Castro Revolution
•   January 1st, 1959
•   Castro was the only logical choice for leadership
•   Batista left a power vacuum
•   Castro had charisma
    – He was a natural leader
• Took position of Commander of the Armed
• October 1959
• Castro changes in 1959
               May 17 1959

• Agrarian Reform Law
• Castro nationalizes foreign and domestic
• Castro also moved Cuba towards morality
• Women’s role under Castro’s rule
• Central Planning Board
• By 1960 most of the ruling party left the
• Castro started the PSP
  – Partido Socialist Popular
• Castro hated the US
• Castro is not a Marxists
• Wanted two things
  – To consolidate his personal rule
  – To change socioeconomic conditions of Cuba
• Why didn’t USA intervene when Castro
  took over?
• Castro promotes rebellion in other
  Caribbean Countries
• February 1960 made a trade agreement
  with Russia
• America set up an embargo
• Cuban underground saw the US
  sponsored invasion as the beginning of
  the end.
             Bay of Pigs
• Weapons are supposed to be
• Communication broke down
• The underground
• America was afraid of Castro
• Landing was a bad choice
• Kennedy made a big mistake
    CIA Attempts on Fidel Castro’s life

•    Spray Castro’s broadcasting booth with a LSD
•   Cigars – impregnate a cigar with a chemical which
    produced temporary disorientation
•   Dust his shoes with thallium salts that would cause
    his beard to fall out
•   Cigars – treat them with a lethal poison (botulinum
•   Criminal underworld Bissell and Edwards were to
    find someone to kill Castro (Maheu)
•   Poison Pill – drop it in Castro’s drink
What was the impact of the Missile
 Crisis on the countries involved?
• A thaw in US - Soviet relations
• Kennedy came out smelling like a seasoned
• The relationship between Cuba and Russia was
• The US accepted Communist rule in Cuba
• Cuba became a base for Russian Submarines
• Castro increased his talks with Communist
• Castro steps up his involvement in Latin America
2nd Part of the Revolution 1968
 – What were the problems that Cuba faced?
   • Economic difficulties
   • Expanding influence of the military on society
   • The military became more and more important to
     both the economy and the government
   • Sugar still dominates
     What were some Cuban
• Communist regime grew in strength
• Cuban – Soviet relations got better
   Cuba and Russia Relations
• Sent Carlos Rodriguez as an “observer” to
  the World Conference of Commnist
• Many communist states did not have
  communist solidarity
• In the early 1970s economic aid increased
  substantially and Cuba moved closer to
• Russia involvement in Africa

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