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  1. 1. Castro Profiles in Power By Sebastian Balfour
  2. 2. Pictures of the Past, Visions of the Future <ul><li>The earlier history of Cuba directly influenced Castro and his actions and strategy of the future </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba is varied topographically, including 3 mountain ranges, wide fertile plains and small natural harbors Under Spanish rule Cuba was dominated by the military </li></ul><ul><li>Strong presence of whites </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. interventions were intended to ensure that Cuba maintained policies which favored American investments. Rich men’s values in Cuba were shaped by U.S. culture The U.S. bought half of Cuba’s sugar crop each year, and controlled Cuba’s internal market </li></ul><ul><li>To develop an economy Cuba needed to become far less dependent on the U.S and break off its sugar monoculture </li></ul><ul><li>Castro’s actions and ideas were influenced and inspired by writer and poet Jose Marti who had warned against U.S. expansionism. They viewed Cuba in a similar way, with a idealistic ahistorical picture free from dictatorship. </li></ul><ul><li>Student movements (1923) and youthful organizations formed and they believed that actions by small groups could lead to revolution. </li></ul><ul><li>Ex-sergeant Batista held the future of Cuba in his hands mainly because the army was stable organization capable of a political solution. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Rebel <ul><li>Castro’s father was a Spanish immigrant who became and wealthy planter (sugar) </li></ul><ul><li>Castro grew up with children from all different social backgrounds, which later influenced his political development </li></ul><ul><li>He believed he had a special calling and was born a politician </li></ul><ul><li>He showed early rebellion when he broke all his schools rules in order to be a boarder. </li></ul><ul><li>Later he went to a strict Jesuit school where he learned self discipline enterprise and tenacity and was a popular leader and athlete </li></ul><ul><li>He attended Havana University in 1945 where he studied law, but became involved in many student organizations towards who challenged the politics of the time attacking false leaders and government corruption </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of his first year he was kicked off campus and warned to stay away, but he returned fully armed. He later said that the years he spent on campus were very dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>He was invited to join a new party, the Ortodoxos run by Eddie Chibas. </li></ul><ul><li>Within the new party Castro believed in a more radical strategy for political change, graduated in 1950 and took what he learned from Chibas about public relations and broadcasting and threw himself into the elections in 1952. </li></ul><ul><li>Batista returned from his second home in Florida and caused Castro a challenge </li></ul>
  4. 4. Rise to Power <ul><li>Castro used more violent methods to make statements and in the middle of 1953 he had organized a group of around 1,200 followers </li></ul><ul><li>He and his followers planned an underground organization where they would seize military barracks in the capital and call on the people of Cuba to rise against the new dictator later called the 26th July Movement </li></ul><ul><li>Their plans failed due to an encounter from a military patrol, Castro and a small banned of survivors were arrested and brought to court </li></ul><ul><li>His defence speech was him proposing the complete reformation of Cuba into a progressive nation, which brought him into the public eye </li></ul><ul><li>Although he still had a 15 year sentence, he never seemed to lose his optimism </li></ul><ul><li>They were released from jail unconditionally due to widespread support of campaigns for their freedom, and Batista’s fear. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro immediately began new attacks and protests. More and more people were protesting Batista’s rule, but Castro feared assasination left for Mexico with his brother to prepare a new attempt at overthrowing Batista. </li></ul><ul><li>He used his swaying words and pure enthusiasm and persuaded people like Alberto Bayo to give up his job and sell his business in order to train his army, and Guevara a young Agentinian doctor was angered with the U.S and was convinced Cuba needed an armed revolution so he joined Castro and his group. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro set sail in 1956, ran into a storm, experienced mechanical breakdowns and landed at the wrong place </li></ul><ul><li>What saved the expedition was the peasents of Sierra Maestra, Batista sent over his army to finish Castro and his troops in Sierra Maestra, however Batista’s army couldn’t stand up to Castro’s guerrillas who were highly disciplined bodies. </li></ul><ul><li>Soon after their success Castro launched his attack on the Capital. With his armies from the west and his brothers from the east they swept town by town taking out Batrista’s army. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Defying The Eagle <ul><li>Castro took power in 1959 with objectives to transform Cuba into a developed and independent nation by mobilizing the island’s internal resources </li></ul><ul><li>To do this he knew they needed to destroy the old order but above all they had to face the United States </li></ul><ul><li>At the start of the revolution Cuba would have a mixed economy where the U.S. aid would still play an important role. </li></ul><ul><li>The U.S. began to fear Cuba was turning communist, and the Cubans suspected the U.S. was aiding counter-revolutionaries. Mutual suspision and misunderstanding was the cause of their dispute </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The US. Lowered Cuba’s sugar quota </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>So the Cuban’s ended the large American companies on the island </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Due to the crisis many Cuban’s took off to the U.S. which accelerated Cuba’s centralization </li></ul><ul><li>In 1961 the Cuban exiles set sail to invade under US navy escort, and failed due to the Cuban planes who attacked them under Castro’s efficiant command. Cuba’s victory at Playa Giron increased his mass support giving him confidence </li></ul><ul><li>He declared he was Marxist and that the revolution would be a socialist revolution </li></ul><ul><li>The creation of a new communist party created close ties with the Soviet Union, who was providing economic and military aid to Cuba </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba would become too dependent on its new ally, and the Cuban Revolution was about gaining independence from its 100 year old anti-colonial struggle </li></ul><ul><li>Cuban revolution was different than that of any other third world country mostly because of Castro’s easy victory that was able to take place due to Batista’s fragile regime and small island with a developed urban society </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Grand Illusion <ul><li>Castro’s ability to overthrow Batista, and defy the US made people believe he could overcome any obstacle. Castro’s confidence and charisma enabled him to rise with the support from the people. </li></ul><ul><li>He used jokes and examples of everyday duties when explaining a complex idea in his many speeches. </li></ul><ul><li>At this point Cuba was a small undeveloped island that was trapped by its sugar monoculture and reliant on soviet support. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro provided housing, education, and healthcare to all the Cuban people, which ended illiteracy. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1963 industry actually declined and the harvest was the worst because the economy could not sustain such high levels of consumption. The Cuban economy was heading downward </li></ul><ul><li>The communist and their allies argued that the success of the capital would only come with large amounts of sugar production, and the soviet union offered to buy sugar for a high fixed price. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro’s twin objectives of the revolution had still been to create a communist society on a developed economy and secure independence for Cuba. </li></ul><ul><li>The Soviet Union began to get in the way of Castro’s objectives, but his confidence lay in the faith of the guerrilla warfare in Latin America. A new revolutionary axis lead by Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea was forming. </li></ul><ul><li>However when Guevara died the progress in Latin American was put to a hault, and Cuba was in massive debt to the soviets. </li></ul><ul><li>In desperate attempt to accumulate 10 million tons of harvest in 1969 to show independence, Castro came short with only 8.5 million. The Cuban’s became restless and the economy was in crisis, and was almost completely reliant on the Soviet Union </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Revolutionary Godfather <ul><li>Due to the policy failures in the 60’s there was a reorganization of government </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The creation of the OPP(organs of popular power) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In the 60’s Castro believed his ideas were right and walked around the country assigning ambitious projects that were rarely finished. </li></ul><ul><li>In the 70’s as the decade progressed Castro shed responsibility due to the new organizations in the government, but was still respected by most Cubans as the supreme leader of the Revolution. </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from social and political values in the 60’s to cost effectiveness and decision making in the 70’s was noticed </li></ul><ul><li>The leadership of the revolution began to resemble that of an extended family, where the inner group was formed by the veterans of the Sierra campaign, and now Castro was not responsible for all of its actions, and took the role of the godfather. The new framework made it more difficult for him to intervene. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The World Statesman <ul><li>Cuba had been harassed by the US, excluded by many Latin American countries, and frowned on by the Soviets, however in 1979 35 countries were getting military and civil aid from Cuba. </li></ul><ul><li>Castro was advising new revolutionary regimes all over the world </li></ul><ul><li>The balance in power was contributed by the oil crisis, the Vietnam War, and the fall of the Portugese empire in Africa. </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba’s soviet connection allowed them to influence international events, but due to the revolution thousands of volunteers left the island on medical, military, educational, ad technical missions. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 1979 and 1981 tensions between Cuba and the US rose. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The main trouble centered on the attempts by Cubans to leave the island </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Straightening the Rudder <ul><li>Castro would now change back to and focus on the centre of the political stage in Cuba </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More sacrifices on the part of the Cuban people </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In the 70’s Cuba had started to recover some of its economic debt, but in 1986 Cuba had a record deficit </li></ul><ul><li>Shortfall=lack of consumer goods </li></ul><ul><li>Moscow pulled out military commitments to the third world and redefined its trading links and aid </li></ul><ul><li>End of 80’s Castro’s options were narrowing, increased economic strains, and dissatisfied people, and great dilemmas </li></ul>
  10. 10. Socialism or Death <ul><li>When the communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe collapsed it greatly affected the Castro regime. </li></ul><ul><li>Cuba’s economy was alive because of their support and trade </li></ul><ul><li>The new governments formed in Russia and commonwealth states cut all ties with Cuba, by 1993 the last of the Soviet troops left and Cuba’s total export earnings fell by 60 percent and total import fell by 70 percent </li></ul><ul><li>Fuel and electricity were cut, projects were suspended and life for Cubans became frugal as food programs were launched to overcome the problems in production, the US made it difficult for Cuba to find new trading partners </li></ul><ul><li>Malnutrition and disease struck Cuba and living conditions plummeted </li></ul><ul><li>Castro kept his head up and roamed around the island initiating improvisations to problems of production and supply. </li></ul><ul><li>The slogan “Socialism or Death” became the cry in all of his speeches, and he still preached against capitalism. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Cuban Democracy Act (1992) gave the US president powers to ban all US subsidiaries, based in third countries, from trading with Cuba, had been promoted by a democrat and supported by Clinton” </li></ul><ul><li>The army was still the most powerful institution in Cuba and they were very loyal to Castro. Although, people guessed his downfall would be just around the corner. Castro’s regime lasted and he is still alive now and lives with pride and confidence looking back on his revolution. </li></ul>