THE CUBAN COMMUNIST REVOLUTION Introduction: From the beginning Cuba was a shaky country with a very unstable government and a country that was deep in poverty. The government was jumping from being a dictatorship to a republic. The fate of Cuba was changing hands constantly. Fidel Castro challenged Fulgencio Batista and overtook Cuba and still rules it today. Fidel was a strong person who took Cuba at a weak time and the people would follow anyone who promised to help them. He helped the welfare of Cuba greatly, he felt that he could make a change in Cuba and help people lead better lives.
He accomplished that and more; Castro set up many programs to help those in need and accomplished what all the other previous leaders of Cuba attempted to do but never succeeded; he made Cuba a prosperous country that had improved greatly within the past fifty years (Stoner). People: Cuba, largest island of the West Indies, south of the United States and east of the Yu cat n Peninsula of Mexico. It forms, with various adjacent islands, the republic of Cuba. The Cuban population is made up mainly of three groups, about 66%, is of Spanish descent or white, 12% are black, and the remaining 22% are a mixture of both. The language commonly spoken in Cuba is Spanish. The Cuban culture is seen as a blend of Spanish and African culture.
The majority of Cubans claim to be non-religious. In 1957 more than 70% practiced Catholicism but have slowly opened their minds to new ideas, in 1997 only 33% were recorded to be a Roman Catholic (Dominguez). The majority of Cuba is middle class. Before the revolution many of them were only educated to a third-grade level and one-quarter of all Cubans were illiterate. After the revolution however, that changed greatly. Castro gave many people a gift.
Castro s government launched a number of programs aimed at improving social conditions among poor and uneducated Cubans. In 1961 the government temporarily closed schools to teach illiterate citizens how to read and write In the mid-1990 s the literacy rate approached 95% (Dominguez). The Old Regime: Cuba s government began to become shaky after Fulgencio Batista became dictator for the first time in the late thirty s. Batista took over the government as a dictator and had the support of the U. S. On July 26, 1953 he would meet his biggest challenge, Fidel Castro.
Batista knew that if he gained support from the U. S. it would help him to make Cuba a better place. As president in during World War II (1940 s), Batista became a close collaborator of the United States and outspoken champion of the allied cause, stands from which both Cuba and Batista both profited (Haverstock 30).
In 1944 Batista was not able to run for president again because of a new constitution. That year Grau San Martin became president again for the second time. Carlos Prio Soc arras won the 1948 election. Yet in 1952 Batista overthrew Prio s government and became dictator again. The country grew prosperous under Bautista. Cuba also began to industrially develop.
He also encouraged foreign companies to build businesses in Cuba. He created Public Works programs to help the people of Cuba to lower the unemployment rate. Although Batista started Cuba to the road of success, many still lived in poverty (1178). The Revolution: Castro did not believe in the ways of Batista and wanted to gain power in Cuba. He and a small group of eighty-one followers known as the 26 th of July Movement attacked army barracks. Their attempted revolt failed and many, including Castro, were imprisoned (Ruiz).
His group moved to Mexico to plan the next attempt to overthrow Batista. When they returned to Cuba many of them were immediately killed. Student agitation grew so violent that universities and even high schools had to be closed down (Haverstock 32). Castro led the group from the beginning in between the time the revolution started on July 26, 1953 and now many people tried to help and risked their lives to throw over Batista s government and become a communism.
Castro now the Maximum Leader was intent from day one on turning the old social order upside down. Now the real power holder immediately set up a parallel government behind the scenes (Baker 46). There was another rebelling group led by a man named Jose Antonio Ecchevarria. He and his group tried assassinating Batista, but failed and Ecchevarria died also. Ernesto Che Guevara was Castro s military commander from 1956 to 1959 where he helped with guerilla warfare.
He helped to bring Castro s plan to victory. Unfortunately, he could not share the celebration of winning because he had died in 1967 while fighting in Bolivia. Fidel Castro was the only one to make it the whole way through, and take credit for all that has taken place in Cuba in the past fifty-five years (Haverstock 33). Effects: Before the revolution Cuba was run both as a dictatorship and as a republic. When Castro came into rule Cuba became a Communist country.
The Cuban Communist Party (PCC) today occupies the central role in Cuba s government and institutions The Party s goals are to guide common efforts toward the construction of socialism and progress toward a communist society (Aguila 152). Castro created many programs to help the poor. He set up programs to help illiterate people and had the government pay for health care for all people. He also started neighborhood programs where people would clean up the streets and parks and built housing for people who needed it. Fidel created a new government and had many followers after taking over Cuba.
Batista had attempted to stop Castro but he failed, so he fled his country in order to save himself. After this Castro would never be able to be stopped again. He did not rule in a bad way though. He changed Cuba s government from a republic to a communism and went to work. His best interest was only to improve the ways of life for everyone, especially poverty stricken people. He created numerous programs, lowered the unemployment rate, cleaned up the streets, and created housing programs for those who needed it.
Because relations with the United Sates had gone downhill in the 50 s, Cuba had suffered economically during the 60 s. The United States would longer export or import items to or from Cuba. Castro has taken over all of the American businesses that were based in Cuba. Cuba tried to broaden their self-sufficiency by trying to industrialize and decrease their independence on sugar crops, but failed because of poor planning and lack of organization. Cuba then turned to the Soviet Union for economic and military assistance and has invested on other communist countries in Europe. After power had been laid into Castro s hands he was one of the best known revolutionary leaders.
He decided to break off the relations with the U. S. to avoid a power struggle and united with the USSR and other communist countries for support and assistance. By 1961 all ties with the United States had been cut off. Since Castro has been the ruler of Cuba, the U. S.
has had bad relations with Cuba. Many Cubans who did not agree with his ways left for the U. S. while they could. Many Cubans did not like the new ways of Castro and escaped Cuba while it was still possible.
Many of them settled in Miami, Florida (Dominguez). Conclusion: I think that Fidel Castro was a very powerful man who wanted things like he wanted. On the other hand he met every goal he had in mind for Cuba and went farther. He overthrew Batista s government and became the leader of Cuba and set up a communism like he wanted. Castro transformed Cuba into a socialist nation, inaugurating wide-ranging changes in the country s social and economic systems. He instituted programs that dramatically increased the nation s literacy rate and provided quality health care to almost all Cubans.
(Stoner). He also helped Cuba prosper more than any other of its past leaders. He helped the less fortunate of the country and gave them a better life by increasing the literacy rate and paying for everyone s healthcare. Other communist countries received another ally and the U. S. lost all ties they once had with Cuba.
Almost everyone benefited from this revolution in one way or another. Not everyone was a winner but that has to be expected because in order to have a winner you have to have a loser. But even the loser in this case did not lose too badly, I think that within time relations with the U. S.
will improve. Fidel Castro accomplished a lot during the past fifty years. Cuba will experience a big loss when he dies. He has improved Cuba drastically, to the point where it would be hard to bring Cuba back to its poverty stricken stage again. Castro worked very hard at improving life for people by teaching illiterate people to read and write and having the government pay for health coverage for all of Cuba s citizens.
He and his revolution were very inspirational to all of the people in Cuba. I feel that after he passes away the leader that comes after him will only improve life for the years to come. I hope that the relations between the U. S. and Cuba will be renewed. It was only one of the minor losses that occurred during the revolution and can be fixed.
Works Consulted Aguila, Juan M. del. Cuba: Dilemmas of a Revolution. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Inc. , 1984.
Baker, Christopher P. Cuba Handbook. California: Moon Publications, 1997. Cuba. World Book Encyclopedia. 1997 ed.
Dominguez, Jose. The Cuban Revolution. Encarta Encyclopedia 99. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corp. 1998 Haverstock, Nathan A.
, and John P. Hoover. Cuba in Pictures. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. , 1974.
Nathan, James. The Castro Revolution The World Book Encyclopedia: Cuba. 1995 ed. Ruiz, Ramon Eduardo. Cuba: The Making of a Revolution. Amherst, MA: Univ.
of Massachusetts. 1968. Stoner, K Lynn. Cuba. Fidel Castro.
Encarta Encyclopedia 99. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corp. 1998 Thomas, Hugh. The Cuban Revolution. New York: Harper and Row Publishing, 1977.