Cuba's 1958 Revolution Term Paper

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Revolution of 1958 inevitable?

Cuba. This island is known everywhere in the world. Everybody knows such names as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Also Cuba is associated with Caribbean crisis, which had frightened both the U.S.A. And USSR. That's all that common person knows about this land and nation famous for specific culture and interesting history (especially of the 20th century). Cuba has always been a region of American interests in the Caribbean Sea and its 45-year resistance against capitalism (in fact -- American politics) impresses everyone, even person hostile to Cuban regime.

Cuban influence on worlds politics during the Cold War and nowadays is important and worth paying attention to. Cuba is still one of the last Communist countries of the world.

Many years have past, Communism had a great success but it died after Soviet Union collapsed. Now China and Vietnam try to democratize and capitalize own economics. Only Cuba and North Korea are still devoted to Communism. But even there we can find some ideas of capitalism. The majority of Socialistic revolutions (older and younger that Cuban) are history already. Some scientists admit that Cuban revolution took place in the most complicated situation and practically had no chance to come true. But Cubans proved their moral strength and they still succeed protecting the Revolution. Cuban revolution created the first Socialistic state in this part of Earth. Now I'll try to find out why Cuban Revolution of 1958 was inevitable. Also it is very interesting and worth studying that Cuba was not the most developed country of Latin America and many people explain the Revolution with Fidels charisma, Russian success and American miscalculation. As historian Jules Benjamin in his book -- The United States and Cuba -- wrote, United States and Cuba had always very uneasy relations.

Cuba had a very tragic history before the middle of the 20th century. Spanish and later -- American influence was not good for this island nation. We cannot name American influence of that time democratic because United States and owners of different companies considered Cuba as a colony. This influenced future revolution a lot.

Let us analyze Cuban economics and American influence on this island country.

The basic sphere of pre-Revolutionary Cuban economics, as all historians say including Marifeli Perez-Stable in the book -- The Cuban Revolution --, was producing sugar for export to the United States. 25% of best lands, 36 big and well-equipped sugar plants belonged to United Fruit and other American corporations. They produced 42% of sugar. Another 58% were produce? By Cubans but were also controlled by Americans.

But sugar was not the only sphere of American monopolies interests. They controlled 23% of industry, 90% of electrical and telephone infrastructure, 50% of railways. For example telephone and telegraph belonged to the filial of ITT. Electricity and lands in some provinces belonged to Cuban American Sugar Company. These two companies were connected through Morgan bank group and received support from Department of State and CIA.

National Cuban capitalists were associated with American capital and had interests both in Cuba and Miami. Different American companies wished to have a filial on this island involving some part of Cuban capital. So, the whole infrastructure of the island, industry and other spheres of national economics were leaded by the United States.

Cuban historian Tablada admitted that in 1950-ies Cuba had developed road infrastructure, developed telephone, telegraph, television and radio.

Cubans didn't like that and wanted to rule themselves in their country and work only for their native land. The majority of Cuban population was peasants and the main reason according to this fact was shortage of land. Local landowners and American corporations had bought state and private lands in the beginning of 20th century for very low prices, so the majority of population was left with no land. Some of them had to become workers there; some captured state land in the mountains that were very bad to plant anything on . People who were considered peasants had neither equipment nor electricity. They didn't have any schools and hospitals, lived in terrible poverty. Any private owner of land could loose his land if some coffee company loved his land in the mountains. Such -- owners -- were considered -- independent -- . Other peasants didn't have even such -- independence -- . According to the contract concluded with sugar or tobacco company peasant had to pay rent payment, sell all goods only to this company and take different credits. Monopolies bought their production for an extremely low prices and this was making peasants and their families poor.

Some companies or real landowners never concluded any treaties with peasants to be able to drive away them anytime they wanted. When Fidel Castro was incarcerated in jail he said in the court that 200 thousands of Cubans had no any land to feed their families and 30 thousand of caballeros of best lands belonged to monopolies but were empty and nobody planted anything on them.

The majority of Cuban population was getting poorer every passing year. If to compare average income of every family in 1955 and the same income in 1945, we can figure out that it had lessened in 2 times. If to look at the same income of average family in the U.S.A. we'll see that it was 5 times more. The situation in Cuba was very complicated and government did nothing to help own nation to live and work, to feed own families and raise national economics. Catholic University Union provided different social researches in 1956-1957 and here are the results: about 33,5% of those who could and wanted to work were jobless, only 4% of them could afford themselves eating meat, 1%- fish, 11% - milk, 3%-bread, only 57% of Cuban citizens were literate and 6% had water supply at home. These figures horrify today but that happened not that long ago -- less than 50 years ago. It is hard to believe that in 20th century people living several miles away from Miami lived practically in Middle Ages and their conditions of life, attitude to human were the same.

Not that long ago Raul Castro -- Fidels brother and now -- Minister of Defense, said during some interview that when being a child he remembered his fathers small farm surrounded by American sugar and Nickel corporations and wondered what belonged to Cubans in Cuba.

But Cuba was not only a huge sugar plantation. It became a region famous for its industry of entertainment, which included sex-tourism. Our President George W. Bush played attention to this problem, which takes place now as he thinks. Many rich people from the United States of America and some other countries visited Cuba to play different games of a chance and satisfy their sexual desires. No one nation could submit this.

American monopolists and oligarchs turned Cuba into dependent territory, not a colony but dependent because of profitable regime ruled from the offices of these monopolies. Mafia created a system of total corruption, which was spread on the government, political parties and professional unions. The power was provided not only using legal methods. Cuba suffered a lot from numerous terrorist formations supported by different important officials and criminal leaders. These formations were used to solve different problems. For example, first leader of first Communist party J.A. Melia was assassinated by terrorists. Peasant leader Niseto Perez was assassinated as well. Such murders became usual events during Batistes reign. Both terror and propaganda were used to control the nation. Mass media was convincing Cubans that Communism was great evil and they would live even worse if Communists win. To illustrate this influence on millions of people I can set a very interesting example. Once during the meeting Fidel Castro asked peasants: -- Do you stand for Socialism? -- No! -- they answered. Then he asked them if they wanted an agricultural reform to be provided, they said -- yes! -- . Then he wanted to know if they wanted their kids to study at the university, if they wanted free medicine. People answered -- yes! -- . To sum up what he had said Fidel told them: -- Yes! All these ideas are Socialism -- . Peasants understood him.

Cuban businessmen didn't have such freedom of their business and rights that in other countries of Latin America. Cuba didn't have popular and respectable political parties. Total corruption and criminalization of power pushed respectable and clever people away. The majority of nation was united by idea of resistance, of great wish to live and work for themselves, for own country. Also people were united by tradition of fighting for independence against Spain in 1868-1898. As a result of this fight Catholic Church lost influence on the majority of population. Catholicism was spread among reach people who lived in towns. Poor peasants and town inhabitants believed in different half-pagan Afro-Indian religions. But in other countries of Latin America Catholic positions were still strong.


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