The socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution


“Why did the Cuban Revolution take a socialist signifier? ”

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Table of contents:

  1. Introduction ;
  2. Restrictions of this survey ;
  3. Analysis ;
  4. Decision.


  1. Introduction: This paper analyses the socialist dispensation of the Cuban Revolution. It proceeds on the premiss that the societal, economic and political state of affairs in the state in the old ages before the revolution engendered a strong feeling of repugnance towards the capitalist system, which was the strongest ground for the rise of a radical socialist order. More specifically, it tries to understand why the revolution that Fidel Castro headed succeeded when an earlier effort of more or less the same nature failed.
  2. Restrictions of this survey: The footings ‘revolution’ and ‘revolutionary’ are used to denote both the motion that brought the socialist authorities under Fidel Castro to power, and the vision and policy he had for his countrymen. However, this paper’s horizon precludes the actions of the socialist government’s policy once it came to power. Besides, the categorization of socio-economic and political factors it makes as being behind the rise of the socialist province are non excessively stiff ; some of these factors are intertwined and do non fall under the header entirely. Finally, the footings associating to communism and socialism are used synonymously and interchangeably, although there exist some differences in their mentalities.
  3. Analysis: This subdivision lists three factors for the rise of a socialist revolution in Cuba: political factors, socio-economic factors and the auxiliary factor of Fidel Castro’s political orientation of hatred for the American capitalist system behind the rise of the socialist revolution.

Political factors: Cuba was in the old ages from its independency from Spain in 1898, to the eruption of the revolution in 1953, a state that was about wholly dominated by America. ( Horowitz, 2002 ) Like most other foreign powers before it, America, excessively had viewed Cuba for strategic grounds ; ( Rabkin, 1991, p. 12 ) nevertheless, under the stalking-horse of assisting its neighbour addition independency from the imperialist power, what America did was to bully Cuba into entry of American philosophies. In consequence, there was no reprieve for the ordinary Cubans from foreign subjugation: America at best replaced one signifier of dictatorship with another –its own, perpetrated by uniting the conflicting functions of liberator and oppressor. From the beginning, America, which insisted upon Spain to retreat from Cuba, wanted the exclusive function for itself in Cuban internal personal businesss. If the Spanish had used Cuba as one of its outstations in the colonial epoch, America tried to spread out its ain trade name of imperialism driven by capitalist economy and multinationals utilizing Cuba as a gateway to heighten its involvements in Latin America. This had built a groundswell of nationalist sentiment against America, something that was imbibed in the radical leading. ( Horowitz, 2002 )

Under the footings of the Platt Amendment, which defined dealingss between the two states, the US denied Cuba the most indispensable ingredient of an independent state, sovereignty. It arrogated full powers to step in militarily at its will, which gave it the alibi to do full- graduated table military intercessions four times –in 1906, 1912, 1917 and 1920. Though it was repealed in the aftermath of the installing of the authorities of the 1933-34 rebellion, and as portion of president Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘Good Neighbor’ policy, these direct intercessions left a grade in Cuban heads about American purposes. ( Halperin, 1972, p. 5 ) Its policy of shore uping tyrants and turning a blind oculus to the surpluss of their governments, so long as they carried out America’s command was the most powerful ground for furthering a communist mentality among the Cubans. In the old ages of American intervention in the state, two of the dictators it supported, Gerardo Machado from 1925 to 1933 and Fulgencio Batista, who ruled two footings from 1933-44 and from 1952-58, were peculiarly corrupt, whose policies drained the economic system. ( Liss, 1987, p. 105 )

Socio-economic factors: Social and economic conditions in Cuba under America in the old ages taking to the revolution created a skewness of the state in virtually all sectors: in the twelvemonth of the start of the revolution, 1953, hardly 25 per centum of the population was literate, and the unemployment rate was about the same. This was really in a not-so-bad twelvemonth, which meant that even in an mean twelvemonth, Cubans had to travel through hard jobs in their daily life. This was a contemplation of the fact that its economic system was in a province of decay, and was crippled. Sugar, on which the economic system was built, was such an of import harvest that about the full economic system was affected by it in one or another manner, straight using about a one-fourth of the labour force. The whole economic system was built on really rickety foundations –sugar is a seasonal harvest, which drew 100s of 1000s of workers into its Fieldss and employed them during the harvest period, known in local idiom aszafra. This, nevertheless, was a period of merely three or four months in the twelvemonth. ( Huberman & A ; Sweezy, 1960, p. 8 ) In Cuban eyes, America was culprit figure one, and the exclusive ground for this province of personal businesss. As the power that helped subvert Spain, America came to wholly rule the Cuban economic system. Its investing was in the part of $ 1.5 billion every bit early as 1929, and it controlled two-thirds of the sugar trade, the country’s lifeblood. This was non all –it owned most of the country’s public utilities, and followed a policy of protecting large husbandmans at the disbursal of the smaller 1s, while forestalling technological improvisations and the cultivation of alternate hard currency harvests. ( Rabkin, 1991, pp. 14-16 ) Sugar output declined well about throughout the old ages of American intercession in the economic system, but industry employed barely a seventh of the work force. ( Williams, 1962, p. 21 )

Another highly of import factor added to the wretchedness of the sugar industry: most of the arable sugar farms had typically been divided into little and large ownerships. While the little proprietors had major troubles in running their farms, the bigger 1s were comparatively more stable. Over a period of clip, the little landowners’ secret plans were gobbled up by profit-hungry capitalist corporations, largely through deceitful agencies. In the procedure, these capitalists besides converted huge countries of mahogany, cedar and lumber and brought those countries, excessively, under sugar cultivation. A revealing commentary of how large farms hurt the economic system that was about wholly sugar-oriented was the fact that less than 0.1 per centum of the entire figure of farms occupied one fifth of the land under sugar cultivation ; a mere eight per centum of the figure of farms held a humongous 71 per centum of the land that cultivated sugar, while merely over three per centum of the land under sugar was distributed among little farms that varied in size between one and 25 estates each, in 1946. ( Huberman & A ; Sweezy, 1960, p. 9 ) By 1955-56, 69 per centum of the farms took 11 per centum of the land, and good over 200,000 households depending on agribusiness in this little state were without occupations. ( Williams, 1962, p. 21 ) Yet another socio-historic factor was turning out to be a beginning of tensenesss –the Spanish, who had based their imperialism on economic development, had imported Black slaves into the state during their reign ; the posterities of these slaves, called the mulatto, who had stayed back, were economically backward, and constituted 27 per centum of the population, and their discontent took the signifier of occasional race public violences. ( Wright, 2001, p. 6 ) By the 1950’s, America took the most of import determinations for the economic system ; the Chinese and the Spaniards dominated the Cubans in whatever other sectors they were left freedom in. ( Meeks, 2001, p. 52 ) This clearly was adequate grounds of how much capitalist economy metaphorically squeezed the economic system like the sugar cane in its mills. All the factors for a revolution were gazing in the face ; if a revolution could take topographic point, there was no uncertainty that it had to be socialist, given the extent of hatred and aversion capitalist economy had evoked in the state by virtually destructing its really economic system.

It in fact, did go on: some analysts see the overthrow of the Machado government at the custodies of the University of Havana professor, Grau San Martin and his acolyte, the firebrand collectivist revolutionist, Antonio Guiteras in 1933 as the precursor of Castro’s rise to power ; this authorities may hold lasted non more than a few months, but the fact that it was established at all goes on to turn out the desire for a socialist dispensation in the Cuban society at that clip. Worsening this were the intrigues of the American disposal, which engineered the overthrow of this government, and its replacing, Batista, who despite holding pursued economic policies that enhanced the criterion of life of some people, was perceived as the most servile of all presidents to capitulate to American diktats. ( Leonard, 2003 )

The Castro factor: Even after the limited success of the socialist government, socialism had ne’er truly disappeared from Cuban mind –even from expatriate, San Martin had been jointing his ideals in Cuban heads. What really finessed the rise of a socialist government under Castro even though it was a desideratum for most laden Cubans was his deep-seated hate of capitalist economy, a trait in which he seemed to hold outpaced even communism’s prophesier. His vocalization on one juncture possibly throws some penetration into the extent to which he despised capitalist economy: “Karl Marx says in his Communist Manifesto that capitalist economy digs its ain grave. But capitalist economy digs two Gravess — one for itself and the other for the society which comes after capitalist economy. What we must make is to make full in the hole rapidly, so that the heritage of capitalist economy may non besides destroy and bury socialism.” ( Liss, 1994, p. 47 )

Cubans had rallied around the communist leading of the 1930’s. However, apart from the fact that it was the American designs that brought this down, there was another critical factor –it lacked a well-structured leading. Castro, when he decided to establish his violative, drew support from the most critical sector of the state –the countryside. It was this factor that was to turn out to be the major ground for his success. ( Meeks, 2001, p. 52 ) Additionally, the former did non hold a clear cut program in topographic point to replace American intervention in the state. Therefore, the field was unfastened for a individual whose leading could offer cohesiveness the earlier leading was missing in. None was suited for this regulation better than Castro. At the clip of his Ascension, there was in consequence a leading vacuity from two point of views –while the Batista government was seen to be excessively pro-America, there was a blank at the top in the socialist leading, excessively. Despite being acutely cognizant of the fact that America’s domination extended to countries other than sugar, by which they controlled 90 per centum of its mines and cowss spreads, 50 per centum of the public railroads, and 25 per centum of the bank histories, “ [ a ] mong Cuba ‘s important extremist political entities, merely the Communist party talked about the demand for systematic analysis of Cuba ‘s jobs and scientific planning for their alleviation.” ( Liss, 1987, pp. 111-112 )

  1. Decision: As can be seen, a host of factors existed prior to the coup d’etat of the authorities by the socialists in Cuba. In the background of continued development of the economic system and the country’s societal construction at the custodies of the capitalist system, it is merely natural that a really strongly anti-American system had to busy centre phase of the Cuban political system. In the fortunes, it may safely be said that Castro merely stepped in to make full up emptiness both in the political system and the people’s minds. It is hard to conceive of any other signifier of authorities taking over Cuba in the epoch of Latin American opposition to American policy in general and Cuba in peculiar at the tallness of the Cold War epoch.


Halperin, M. ( 1972 ) , The Rise and Decline of Fidel Castro: An Essay in Contemporary History, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Horowitz, I. L. , ( 2002, Jumping ) . “One Hundred Old ages of Ambiguity: U.S.-Cuba Relationss in the twentieth Century” , The National Interest, p.58+ . Retrieved December 6, 2005, from Questia database: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Huberman, L. , & A ; Sweezy, P. M. , 1960, Cuba: Anatomy of a Revolution ( 2nd ed. ) , Monthly Review Press, New York.

Leonard, T. M. , 2003, “State and Revolution in Cuba: Mass Mobilization and Political Change, 1920-1940” , The Historian, Vol. 65, No.4, p.1018+ . Retrieved December 6, 2005, from Questia database

Liss, S. B. , 1987, Roots of Revolution: Extremist Thought in Cuba, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE.

Liss, S. B. , 1994, Fidel! : Castro ‘s Political and Social Thought, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

Meeks, B. , 2001, Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory: An Appraisal of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada, University of the West Indies Press, Kingston, Jamaica.

Rabkin, R. P. , 1991, Cuban Politics: The Revolutionary Experiment, Praeger Publishers, New York.

Williams, W. A. , 1962, The United States, Cuba, and Castro: An Essay on the Dynamics of Revolution and the Dissolution of Empire, Monthly Review Press, New York.

Wright, T. C. , 2001, Latin America in the Era of the Cuban Revolution ( Revised ed. ) . , Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT.

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