’s Revolutionary Essay, Research Paper (TITLE)Inconsistencies of Castro?s Revolutionary Government The revolution that occurred in Cuba in 1959 created a government with many inconsistent policies. These policies, initiated by the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, caused many economic problems in the first ten years of his regime.
’s Revolutionary Essay, Research Paper
(TITLE)Inconsistencies of Castro?s Revolutionary Government
The revolution that occurred in Cuba in 1959 created a government with many inconsistent policies. These policies, initiated by the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, caused many economic problems in the first ten years of his regime. Many of these inconsistencies are due to a definite lack of planning on the part of Castro and his advisors. Cuba attempted rapid industrialization while at the same time renounced American capital, which would have been essential. Along with the rapid transition into a Marxist state, the first ten years of Castro?s regime were marred by multiple economic disasters along with varying and uncertain economic, political, and social policies.
Before Castro took power in 1959, the policies of Fulgencio Batista?s regime were extremely beneficial towards United States economic interests. Many corporations had extensive investments in Cuba. This large economic involvement by the United States caused a great resentment on the part of many Cubans, who felt their trade should be more independent. However, Castro?s extreme rejection of American capitalism combined with attempts to form a pseudo-Marxist state resulted in greater dependency on the Soviet Union than ever experienced with America (Chapman 286). Soviet foreign aid was so great that by 1964 they had extended over three hundred million dollars in economic aid as well as trade credits equivalent to the same amount. (Blackburn 147). The turn toward Communism caused an economic embargo on Cuba in 1962 by the United States. At the time, the Cold War was in full force and America tried, in vain, to remove Castro from power. (Blackburn 133). The lack of foreign capital would become one of the greatest economic problems of the Cuban Revolution.
The lack of trade with the United States curtailed many attempts at industrialization. In many Latin American countries, foreign capital was a necessity to break the age-old dependence on agricultural products; in Cuba, that product would be sugar. By breaking diplomatic ties with the United States, Castro placed Cuba in a situation where it had limited trade partners, as it could only trade with communist countries (Mankiewicz 208). Since the United States forbade trade with Cuba, many Western countries also refused to trade. This placed a tremendous strain on the Cuban economy?s ability to survive on a one-crop system. Castro realized this, and attempted to overcome this dependency on sugar through a long-term plan for agricultural development. This plan included changes to many new crops, such as citrus fruits, rice, tobacco, and coffee, to be produced for export. These new crops would eventually equal to twenty percent of Cuban exports (Bourne 193). However, this plan failed; Cuba?s production of food products ten years after Castro took power was twenty-five to thirty percent below the production of the last years of the Batista regime (Chapman 286-7).
The lack of progress in Castro?s agricultural plan is due partially to his lack of concentration on this sector of the economy. In 1960 Castro issued his desire to industrialize the country within four years. By 1964, the realization of this dream had not yet occurred. Since the government had its interests spread out over agriculture as well as industry, neither were able to produce what Castro had initially promised (Chapman 287). The failure of these economic policies resulted Castro in losing much credibility and further representing his unpredictability.
Castro?s ideals about relations with the United States have also changed. In the early days of the revolution, Castro tried to gain support from the United States. He did this by using Herbert Matthews, a reporter for the New York Times, to report the story of the Cuban guerillas. Through this, Castro felt that he could demonstrate the weakness of the Batista regime and turn the United States government against him. He used the United States to show that information could leak from Batista?s island, which showed that his power was diminishing (Skidmore 266). This could also be used to force Batista to commit atrocities against his own people, which could agitate the United States into definitive action (Skidmore 266). Once taking power, however, things changed considerably.
On the second day of the revolutionary government, January 2, 1959, Castro proclaimed his policies for agricultural reform (Chapman 268). Many in the United States felt that this was a sure sign that Castro was a Marxist. This was unacceptable for Americans, as the current foreign policy of the United States could not accept the presence of a socialist state, no matter what the form, it its own hemisphere. Much pressure was put on the Eisenhower administration to respond, as Castro had requested a meeting. Foretelling future relations with the United States, Eisenhower conveniently left town for a golfing trip the day he was supposed to meet with Castro. It has been speculated that he refused to meet with Castro since he was a revolutionary. Instead, he sent then Vice President Richard Nixon to meet with him (Bourne 175). The pair discussed the economic future of Latin America. Here Castro revealed all of his plans for social reform in Cuba. Nixon, a renowned red hunter, quickly sent a message to the State Department stating that Fidel Castro posed a significant threat to the United States and supported Communism. Also, Nixon proposed that the State Department arm exiles to lead an invasion of Cuba to depose Castro (Bourne 175). These become the first signs that conflict would inevitably ensue between the United States and the small island nation of Cuba.
Fidel Castro, in the early days of the revolution, tried to win the support of the United States. He tried to maintain friendly relations, however as he exhibited more Communist qualities, this became increasingly difficult. Castro believes that “the United States does not have any right to impose upon Cuba an economic, social, or political system, and it has no right to interfere with the politics of Cuba” (Mankiewicz 139). This statement is a direct contradiction of his earlier beliefs. Castro had tried to get the American government to support his revolution and to pressure Batista into resigning. However, once his power felt threatened, his support for United States intervention grew thin.
In his social policies, however, Castro never contradicted himself. However, he did go against traditional Communist doctrine. In the creation of the majority of Communist and totalitarian states, education is restricted so that the people can not come up with ideas that go against what the government wants them to believe. However, Castro?s revolutionary goal was to make education “universal from nursery school through the university, so that knowledge, science, and technology will be made available to all” (Read 209). Enrollment of the schools by 1968 was two million children, or about one quarter of the entire population of Cuba (Barzini 221). Also, the doctrine taught in the schools is not Leninism; rather a mixed breed of Marxism and Castro?s own revolutionary ideals (Read 213). The curriculum differs greatly from traditional Communist schools, such as those found in the Soviet Union, whose philosophies are greatly impacted by Lenin?s work. By educating the people in such a fashion, Castro is going against traditional Communist ideals.
Castro?s inability to focus on a certain area of Cuban reform hurt the first years of his revolutionary government?s reign. Although there were some successes in the realm of sanitation and education, his political and economic policies were not successful. Politically, Castro initially tried to initiate favorable status with the United States. However, through his naiveness , he reveals his plans for socialist reform to Nixon and is labeled a Communist. Economically, his association with Communism led to a greater dependence on another nation, in this case the Soviet Union, than had ever been found under the Batista regime. His plans for agricultural and industrial reforms failed as well, because he could not decide on which to focus his energies. These inconsistencies caused many Cubans to fall below the poverty line in the 1960s, although they were employed in low wage jobs.
Barzini, Lundini. “Breaking Educational Barriers”. Fidel Castro?s Personal Revolution in
Cuba: 1959-1973. Ed. By James Nelson Goodsell. New York: Alfred A. Knopf
Blackburn, Robin. “The Economics of the Cuban Revolution”. Fidel Castro?s Personal
Revolution in Cuba: 1959-1973. Ed. By James Nelson Goodsell. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf Inc, 1975.
Bourne, Peter G. Fidel: A Biography of Fidel Castro. New York: Dodd, Mead &
Chapman, Robin. “The First Ten Years”. Fidel Castro?s Personal Revolution in Cuba:
1959-1973. Ed. By James Nelson Goodsell. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc,
Mankiewicz, Frank. With Fidel: A Portrait of Castro and Cuba. Chicago: Playboy Press,
Read, Gerald H. “The Revolutionary Offensive in Education.” Fidel Castro?s Personal
Revolution in Cuba: 1959-1973. Ed. By James Nelson Goodsell. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf Inc, 1975.
Skidmore, Thomas E. Modern Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press,
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