By the middle of the 18th century cuba had become a socialist state.777


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By the middle of the 18th century cuba had become a socialist state.777

  1. 1. “By the Middle of the 18th Century Cuba had become a Socialist State”Candidates Name: Jamol Augustine FerdinandCandidates Number: 1500196115Centre Number: 150019Date Submitted: February 25th 2013Subject: HistoryName of College: St Vincent Community College
  2. 2. Table of ContentsStudy Area .....................................................................................................................................3Rationale…………………………………………………………………………………………………...4Methodology ..................................................................................................................................5Thesis ........................................................................................................................................................... 6Argument…………………………………………………………………………………………………..7Bibliography ..............................................................................................................................................15
  3. 3. Area of Research―After the 1959 Cuban Revolution the regime was forced to adopt socialist economic policies‖
  4. 4. Rationale―To identify the causes and effects of Cuba emerging into a socialist state‖
  5. 5. MethodologyThe findings for this assessment derived from interaction with historians and complemented withliterature from texts on Socialism in Cuba as well as online resources.
  6. 6. Thesis However though, to determine whether the 1959 Cuban Revolution the regime was forced toadopt socialist economic policies, one must first look at the economic, social and politicalconditions that existed prior the revolution of 1959. Prior to the revolution in 1959, there wassocial, political and economic disorder that existed. These were mainly inequalities indistribution of wealth, political corruption, mass poverty among Cubans divisiveness amongsociety. However these causes created many effects which made Cuba to emerge in acommunist state. These are the abolishment of private ownership of property nationally, radicalchange in economic and governmental system and furthermore the socio cultural aspect of theCuban society.
  7. 7. ArgumentState socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as publicownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the proleteriats, and a gradualprocess of developing socialism through state action. State socialism may also be used to clarifyany variety of socialism that relies on, or advocates, control of the means of production by thestate apparatus, either through state ownership or state management. Cuba is a Caribbean islandeast of Haiti : Its history is very rich and diverse, having been first spotted by EuropeanChristopher Columbus in 1492 while it was inhabited by Tainos, has Undergone the period ofcolonization by Spain in 1511, period of enslavement and being once upon a time a large sugarand tobacco producing island. The island of Cuba attained its informal independence by Spain in1898 and formal independence by America in 1902.However though, in 1902, never mind Cubawas an independent nation, The American government overseer both its internal and externalaffairs due to the implementation of the Platt Amendment of 1902.Cuba was a Republic statebased on principles of democracy however that was in writing. From the period of 1902 until1959, Cuba had undergone social unrest, revolts, corruption, and overthrowing of dictatorshipregimes never mind it held general elections. It was used in the early half of the twentiethcentury as an American monopoly and economic play ground as many goods and servicesproduced in Cuba was owned by American companies and so mainly the American investors andfriends benefitted until all that came to an end when the Cuban revolutionaries ousted thedictatorship regime of President Fulgencio Batista who was favored by the American and theythen took control of Cuba from 1959 until current.Before the revolution, Cuba was a paradise for the rich a playground particularly for Americantourists – but a nightmare for the workers and peasants. In 1950-54 the average per capita
  8. 8. income in Delaware, the richest state in the United States of America, was two thousand, twohundred and seventy nine dollars while in Cuba it was only three hundred and twelve, examplesix dollars a week. Even in Mississippi, the poorest state in the USA, average per capita incomestood at eight hundred and twenty nine dollars. Fifty-four per cent of the rural population had notoilets at all – not even a privy, and malaria, tuberculosis and syphilis were rampant. There wastwenty five percent illiteracy and similar percentages were unemployed at any one time, exampleone in four of the population. Fewer children proportionately of school age went to school in the1950s than in the 1920s, yet Havana in 1954 had more Cadillac’s than any other city in theworld. At the same time, the land was concentrated in a few hands. One hundred and fourteenfarms, or less than zero point one per cent of the total number, encompassed twenty point one percent of the land. Eight per cent of the total number made up seventy one point one per cent of theland while at the other end of the scale thirty nine per cent of the total numbers of farms weremade up of small peasant holdings of less than one acre but they encompassed only three pointthree percent of the land that President J.F Kennedy said in congress ―At the beginning of 1959United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands—almost all the cattleranches—90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions—80 percent of the utilities—practically all the oil industry—and supplied two-thirds of Cubas imports‖. 1 J.F Kennedy, who said ―At the beginning of 1959 United States companies owned about 40percent of the Cuban sugar lands—almost all the cattle ranches—90 percent of the mines andmineral concessions—80 percent of the utilities—practically all the oil industry—and suppliedtwo-thirds of Cubas imports‖.
  9. 9. The Social disorder was in disarray; the stratification was that reality peasants and workers werereceiving low wages and were basically working under harsh conditions. Because of the lowwages and unemployment there were mass crimes and revolts. Additionally , fewer childrenattended schools and this caused an illiteracy problem in Cuba especially where twenty fivepercent of the population was illiterate. There was racism existing in the Republic state whichcomprised of mainly persons from white, Spanish and African descent but further more creolesbecause of the hybridization in race. This occurred because the white population was made up ofwhites mainly from the United States, pure breed Cubans from Spanish ethnicity and African andcreoles from the system of enslavement that the racial barriers were very strong between thelocals and the whites due to the factor of skin color and wealth. Moreover, there was an everincreasing impoverish state due to the fact that there was low wages allotted to workers inAmerican based companies, the state government only employed persons in favor of theirregime.Moreover politically, the government which came to power in 1940 to which PresidentFulgencio Batista led was cruel. This same government was endorsed by the United States ofAmerica because it supported the ―American Interest‖ in Cuba instead of its people andfurthermore it brutally crushed its political opponents and also its citizens that criticized it byhaving its Police Force ―Gang Squad‖ to brutally suppress/execute them. However corruptiondid not only stay there, the Batista government had relationships with organized crimes in Cubawith American mobsters Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano, and under his rule Havana becameknown as "the Latin Las Vegas‖. It was soo rampant under Batista that David Detzer, Americanjournalist, said ―Brothels flourished. A major industry grew up around them; governmentofficials received bribes, policemen collected protection money. Prostitutes could be seen
  10. 10. standing in doorways, strolling the streets, or leaning from windows. One report estimated that11,500 of them worked their trade in Havana. Beyond the outskirts of the capital, beyond the slotmachines, was one of the poorest and most beautiful countries in the Western world‖.Crowningthe whole system was the dictatorship of the gangster Batista. It was estimated that between hissecond seizure of power in 1953 and his overthrow in 1959, upwards of 20,000 died at the handsof his soldiers and torturers.However though economically, Batista inherited a country that was relatively prosperous forLatin America. Although a third of the population still lived in poverty, Cuba was one of the fivemost developed countries in the region. In the 1950s, Cubas gross domestic product (GDP) percapita was roughly equal to that of Italy at the time, although Cubas gross domestic product percapita was still only a sixth as large as that of the United States. Moreover, despite the fact thatcorruption and inequality were rife under Batista, Cuban industrial workers wages rosesignificantly. The average industrial salary in Cuba was the worlds eighth-highest in 1958, andthe average agricultural wage was higher than some European nations. However, despite an arrayof positive indicators, in 1953, the average Cuban family only had an income of six dollars aweek, while fifteen to twenty percent of the labor forces were chronically unemployed, and onlya third of the homes had running water.2 David Detzer, American journalist after visiting Havana in the 1950s said that ―Brothelsflourished. A major industry grew up around them; government officials received bribes,policemen collected protection money. Prostitutes could be seen standing in doorways, strollingthe streets, or leaning from windows. One report estimated that 11,500 of them worked theirtrade in Havana. Beyond the outskirts of the capital, beyond the slot machines, was one of thepoorest and most beautiful countries in the Western world‖.
  11. 11. However, because of these causes there were need for drastic measures. The poor and workingclass needed change and therefore took up in arms against the Batista regime. They were toolong oppressed under the dictatorship regime of Batista, where soldiers brutally killed opponentsof the regime and the United States controlled most of the productive economy. These thereforegive rise to a revolution which was spearheaded by a lawyer Fidel Castro and Physician CheGuevara along with other guerillas, Militants, the poor and working class and Opposition to theBatista regime to overthrow the Batista government and end its dictatorial rule. The revolutionwas successful when the rebels overcame the military power of the Batista regime which thenforced President Batista to flee Cuba in nearby Dominican Republic and seek for exile in Spaintaking with over three hundred million US dollars. This then made it possible on the eve onFebruary 16th 1959 when Fidel Castro along with his guerilla comrades to take control of thecountry and Fidel was declared Prime Minister of Cuba and President from 1976 to 2008 whenhe demitted office and the Presidency was passed onto his Brother Raul Castro. By 1960,the Cold War raged between two superpowers: the United States, a capitalist liberal, and theSoviet Union (USSR), a Marxist-Leninist socialist state ruled by the Communist Party.Expressing contempt for the U.S., Castro shared the ideological views of the USSR, establishingrelations with several Marxist-Leninist states meeting with Soviet First Deputy Premier, Castroagreed to provide the USSR with sugar, fruit, fibers, and hides, in return for crude oil, fertilizers,industrial goods, and a $100 million loan. Cubas government ordered the countrys refineries –then controlled by the U.S. corporations Shell, Esso and Standard Oil – to process Soviet oil, butunder pressure from the U.S. government, they refused. Castro responded by expropriatingand nationalizing the refineries. In retaliation, the U.S. cancelled its import of Cuban sugar,provoking Castro to nationalize most U.S.-owned assets on the island, including banks and sugar
  12. 12. mills. In 1961 Castro proclaimed the socialist nature of the Cuban revolution, for Castropublicly declared himself a Marxist-Leninist. By that time, Cuba was becoming increasinglydependent on the Soviet Union for economic and military support. with Cuba becoming a one-party state under Communist Party governance. Ideologically-based reforms introducing centraleconomic planning and expanding healthcare and education were accompanied by state controlof the press and the suppression of internal dissent. This prompted the United States headed byPresident J.F Kennedy to end diplomatic relations and impose a trade embargo that still standstoday. In response to this Fidel Castro said "The revolution has no time for elections. There is nomore democratic government in Latin America than the revolutionary government. ... If Mr.Kennedy does not like Socialism, we do not like imperialism. We do not like capitalism‖. Thisthen spurred the American government headed by President J.F Kennedy to spur the ―Bay ofPigs invasion‖ by American troops/ Navy who also would have killed seven airmen in Aprilbecame a disaster and a slap in the face to the American government for Fidel Castro’s militaryovercome the American troops by sending ballistic missiles off the coast of Cuba that resulted ina loss to the United States that made Cuba and Fidel Castro’s government triumphant. At thefuneral of the dead airmen on 16th April, he publicly proclaimed that "What the imperialistscannot forgive us, is that we have made a Socialist revolution under their noses ,a revolution ofthe humble, with the humble, for the humble, democratic and Socialist."After taking power, Castro abolished legal discrimination, brought electricity to the countryside,provided for full employment and advanced the causes of education and health care, in part bybuilding new schools and medical facilities. But he also closed down opposition newspapers,jailed thousands of political opponents and made no move toward elections. Moreover, helimited the amount of land a person could own, abolished private business and presided over
  13. 13. housing and consumer goods shortages. The first and greatest of revolutionary Cuba’sachievements in education was the abolition of illiteracy, which stood at 23% in 1958. A massliteracy campaign, led by 280,000 volunteers teaching some 100,000 students, eliminatedilliteracy in just one year .Not long after, free education was established for all Cubans. Frompreschool to PhD, free education was guaranteed both in the Cuban constitution and in practice,with the socialization of the cost of tutoring, books, pencils and pens that as a result, Cubamoved from 5th place in Latin America in terms of literacy and school enrolment in 1970 to 1stin 2007.Before 1959, the vast majority of Cubans had very limited access to health care. The capitalistelite had their private physicians but the poor had only a handful of rundown hospitals, andmedicines were mostly unaffordable. In the countryside it was even worse; health care wasvirtually non-existent. The revolution established health care as a basic right of all Cubancitizens, making it completely free for every Cuban. It established a new ethic in health care —not for profit, but for service to the people. The Cuban revolution has risen up the country’s mostdowntrodden, its black citizens. The radical redistribution of land from May 1959 and thereduction of housing rents — to a maximum of 10% of a person’s income — were the among themost important measures in undermining racism. Black Cubans were also assisted withaffirmative action programs, and the discriminatory private health and education systems wereabolished. Free health care and free education benefited blacks the most. Cuban women werealso at the bottom of the social pyramid in pre-revolution Cuba. They made up the majority ofilliterates and the unemployed. When Castro regime took over the situation of Cuban women isworlds apart. By 2002, 62% of university graduates were women, many of whom were studyingin non-traditional areas, such as the sciences and economics. Women constitute 65% of Cuba’s
  14. 14. professional and technical workers, while 51% of scientific researchers and 72% of doctors arewomen.Therefore in Conclusion, it can be said that the 1959 Cuban Revolution regime was not forced toadopt socialist economic policies for Fidel Castro who was its leader declared socialism in Cubahad a Socialist agenda in his revolution for it have been seen in his quotes such as that "What theimperialists cannot forgive us, is that we have made a Socialist revolution under their noses."This was his first ever declaration that the Cuban revolutionary movement was socialist incharacter, and he proceeded to declare that his movement was "a revolution of the humble, withthe humble, for the humble, democratic and Socialist." Furthermore where he have said ―Therevolution has no time for elections. There is no more democratic government in Latin Americathan the revolutionary government. ... If Mr. Kennedy does not like Socialism, we do not likeimperialism. We do not like capitalism". The nationalization of industries and where thegovernment now had total control over Cuba’s economy were all part of his socialist agenda todrive out American influence out of Cuba, give back Cuba to Cubans and this helped in buildingnationalism and pride among the Cuban people .3 Fidel Castro said that ―The revolution has no time for elections. There is no more democraticgovernment in Latin America than the revolutionary government. ... If Mr. Kennedy does notlike Socialism, we do not like imperialism. We do not like capitalism‖.4 Fidel Castro "What the imperialists cannot forgive us, is that we have made a Socialistrevolution under their noses, a revolution of the humble, with the humble, for the humble,democratic and Socialist."
  15. 15. Bibliography Long Road to Socialism in Cuba: March 16th 2012 AvailableCampos Pedro . Havana Times: Theat [Accessed: 15th January 2013]March Aleida, Che Guevara Studies Center and Ocean. Socialism and man in Cuba: March12, 1965 Available at [Accessed: 22 January 2013]Taaffe Peter . Cuba Socialism and Democracy: February 10th 1978 Available at [Accessed: 25 January 2013]Tablada Carlos . Che Guevara, Economics and Politics in the Transition to Socialism, published thby Pathfinder Press (NY) (1998) [Accessed: 17 January 2013]Baggins Brian. LUnita Interview with Fidel Castro: The Nature of Cuban Socialism:February 1st 1961 Available at [Accessed: 5th February2013]