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The Cuban Revolution


The revolution in Cuba was not a result of economic
deprivation, nor because of high expectations in the
economy, it was the political factors and expectations
which evoked the civilians to revolt. The Cuban economy was
moving forward at the time before the rebellion but the
dominant influence of the sugar industry made the economy
"assymetrical" and encouraged no "dynamic industrial
sector". Because of the dependance on sugar, the
unemployment rate ranged between 16 and 20% rising and
falling with sugar prices, ebbing and flowing as the season
changed. The rural wage levels were incredibly unsteady and
unpredictable; the standard of living was low. Dependance
on the sugar industry did not retard the economy of Cuba,
just the wages of its workers. It was the leaders of the
nation who reaped profit from this dependance, and it was
the leaders of the nation who insisted on keeping the
nation the way it was. By the mid 1950's, however, the
middle class had expanded to 33% of the population.
Democracy, as we know it, broke down: the large middle
class did not assert democratic leadership, there was no
social militancy in the working class ranks, and the people
found order preferable to disarray. Batista could no longer
legitimize his regime . Failure in the elections of 1954
showed the discontent of the people, and failure in
communications with the United States illustrated its
discontent. Finally, opposing forces confronted Batista's
power: there were street protests, confrontations with the
police, assault, sabotage, and urban violence. This began
the revolution in Cuba. America, with its stubborn ideas
and misjudgements of character, forced Castro to turn to
the Soviets for alliance and aid. When Castro visited the
United States in April, 1959, there were different
respected individuals holding different views of him and
his future actions. Nixon believed Castro to be naive, some
others thought him a welcome change from Batista, still
others called him an "immature but effective leader,
without a well formed view of how to lead a revolutionary
movement and not overly concerned with abstract of
philosophical matters" (p. 55). Why, then, did the United
States impress nit-picky ideals like "there should not be
communists in the Army or in labor", or "Cuba's approach to
the Batista trials is totally unacceptable, too casual, too
nonchalant" on this "forming" leader? Castro was like an
inexperienced murderer with a gun in his hand: any rustle
in the background could set off his nervous trigger finger
causing death, destruction, and liaisons with the U.S.S.R.
When America expressed dislike of the trial procedures
Castro was holding, of course he (Castro) would try to
prove he was able to run his country by himself and snub
the U.S. ambassador. The United States had so much invested
in Cuba that it was stupid to think that Cuba could not
retaliate when the U.S. cut off sugar imports. America was
just too sure of itself thinking it could get away with
criticism and acts like that when an "immature" leader was
in control. Cuba was not totally dependant on the United
States and proved itself so. If Cuba could not find help
and support in America, it sought elsewhere for those who
smiled on its actions and ideals. Castro found friends in
Russia; the United States made this so. Succeeding and
failing have alot to do with judgement. For the United
States, the revolution was a failure because the result was
a communist nation in the Carribean. For the revolutionarie
s in Cuba, the revolution accomplished many of their goals:
capitalism was abolished and socialism installed eroding
class distinctions and eliminating private property, the
working conditions improved, women's rights improved, labor
unions were recogniz ed, the military became more modern
and advanced, political order was restored, the status of
the country improved from dependant to independant, and
many more. For the people of Cuba, therefore, the
revolution can be viewed as a success (if communism ca n be
seen as acceptable), but for America, the result was a
failure. Latin America is one of the poorest and
underdeveloped sections of the world. Because of this fact,
it is difficult for its nations to compete and thrive in
the world market with modern nations as they struggle to
industrialize and improve their status. Capitalism, as a
basis for an economy, means that each man has to struggle
to make a living, that each man may fail and starve, and
that each man may get a lucky break and thrive. We saw this
struggle of the lower classes clearly in Mexico during
their industrialization. With communism, a man may not
become of greater status than he is born with, but then
again that status is no better than his neighbors; this man
is, however, guaranteed a certain amount of land, for
example, and a certain home and a certain salary. To the
poor, those threatened by the extreme of starving, this
idea is very appitizing. To a nation undergoing change,
where there are many poor and these poor co uld get hurt by
the industrialization, communism is appealing in every way.
The United States has to learn that it is not in total
control. We cannot go around condemning countries which
hold procedures different than our own. The developing
count ries in Latin America must struggle through
economically and politically hard times to reach their own
maturity; this means experimentating with different styles
of government to find out which is best for the specific
country. If America wants democrac y to reign over the
Carribean, Central, and South America, it should make the
idea appealing, show these countries that it can work.
America should support strong democratic leaders, encourage
capitalistic moves they (the countries) make, and advise
the nations when they need or ask for it. Mexico is an
example where democracy worked, in Cuba, it didn't. Force
will get us nowhere in preventing the spread of communism,
either will cutting off relations with countries who are
still debating U. S. A. or U . S. S. R. America has too
many interests in Latin America to force it into alliance
with the Soviets. If America is supportive and acts like a
friend--not a dictator--these nations will develop
naturally and see that democracy is the best for them. 


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