In: Historical Events
Cuba and Castros Coming to Power
History Essay – Fidel Castro
Castro’s Social Policies
After coming to power in 1959 with the aim of making radical change to the country. He promised to end inequality, corruption and the economic dependency on USA. With these aims, he implemented economic policies to generate economic growth. The ups and downs of Cuba’s economic performance had not affected the state’s considerable investment in social reform, foreign aid and military involvement. Underpinned by long term credit and trade agreements with USSR, the Cubans had achieved standards of health and literacy rivaling those of developed countries. After his coming to power, Castro had managed to reduce the infant mortality rate, a yardstick of development of development from 60 per thousand live children in 1958 to 13.2 in 1980. On the eve of the revolution there had been one doctor for 5,000 Cubans, whereas thirty years later there was one per 400. Average life expectancy had risen from 74 to 57 and only 2 percent of the population was illiterate compared to 24 percent in 1958. All children of primary school age now attended schools whereas only 56 percent had done so before the revolution. The bare figures conceal the extent of social and economic change in Cuba. Castro’s reform aimed to introduce social justice and allow all sectors of society to have equal oppurtunities. Reforms in health, education and the treatment of women and of minorities were implemented among other areas. Some of these reforms clashed with Cuban traditions and culture. Hence, arts played a fundamental role in designing a new Cuban culture in which for instance, the role of women as workers was implemented and promoted. Castro’s social policies had their main targets as women and education. It evaluated the part played by FMC and the literacy campaign to change the status of women and promote education. One of the most significant changes brought about by the Cuban Revolution has been to the lives and status of women. One of the most significant changes brought about by the Cuban Revolution has been to the lives and status of women. Before 1959 the role of most Cuban women resembled that of other women in the patriarchal societies of Latin America where there existed rigid stereotypes and a division of roles between the sexes in the home and in society. The undisputed role of a woman was that of wife and homemaker in a family headed by her husband or partner. Women enjoyed few rights and were expected to sacrifice not just their academic potential and broader interests, but also their health and happiness in order to ensure the stability and wellbeing of the family. In cases of maltreatment by men, despite the existence of laws forbidding such treatment, women were given minimal support by the police and the legal establishment. The status of women in Cuba by 1959 was different from that in many latin American countries. They were only given right to vote in 1934. The 1940 constitution also granted them equality before the law where women could not be discriminated against a work and were to receive equal pay for work. Although women were allowed to vote, study, ad even sue for divorce, pre-revolutionary Cuba remained in many ways a traditional society. Only a few occupations like teaching and nursing were considered to be appropriate for women in the pre-revolutionary years. They were victims of discrimination at work as the jobs with greater pay and responsibility went to men. Hence in the middle and upper classes, men preferred women to stay at home. The defense to the rights of women at work was largely a response to Cuba’s economic needs. Castro had an aim to achieve modernization and industrialization and to do so women were needed to produce record harvests, woman needed to join the workforce. New legislations were passed reinforcing the equal rights of men and women to access all...