Fidel Castro and his Rule Over Cuba
I. Origins - Conditions which produce single-party states
Cuba, as the largest and most important island of the West Indies, is a country with a colorful and eventful history. Ruled by Spain until the twentieth century, control of Cuba eventually passed to General Fulgencio Batista and his regime, which was able to maintain control over the volatile Cuban people only through constant military aid supplied by the United States. Under Batista, the people of Cuba were unhappy, unhealthy, and repressed. The lived in a state of absolute poverty. The United States supported the Batista regime only because Batista was a staunch abominator of Communism, which we feared above all other things, especially since Cuba lies a mere ninety miles from the shores of Florida.
This lifestyle of poverty and repression made Cuba ripe for revolution. One man who attempted to do this was Fidel Castro. On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro and his co-conspirators planned to revolt and seize a military barrack in Santiago by calling the oppressed people of Cuba to rise against the dictatorial leadership of Batista. The rebels were to seize the barracks and distribute arms to the people. The weakness of the plan rested on the faith that the people would rise up spontaneously in response to the action of Castro's band. When his plan was executed, the people refused to join the revolutionaries because they were afraid of the repercussions that would affect them should the attack fail. Because of this lack of support, the rebels were doomed to failure. Castro was captured and later tried and sentenced to fifteen years in prison, but was amnestied in 1955 by Batista. Six weeks after his release from prison, Castro left for Mexico, vowing to return to Cuba and finish what he started. II. Establishment of single-party states
While in Mexico, Castro met a young Argentinean doctor, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and plunged himself into the works of Marx and Lenin. A man with a strong will and a clear mind, Guevara took immediately to Castro and joined the next planned revolution less than twelve hours after meeting him for the first time. The new strategy was an extension of the original plans for the assault on the military barracks. Castro would land with a force of men on the western coast of Cuba where they would meet with a force of one hundred revolutionary Cuban citizens. A campaign of agitation and sabotage would follow, leading, Castro hoped, to a general strike by the people that would topple Batista.
Castro had learned from his previous failure, and his new plan did not rely on a single action that was required to spark a spontaneous peasant uprising. Another lesson had been learned from the spoiled 1953 attack: beyond the groups of armed revolutionaries, there had to be a grass-roots organization to provide arms, recruits, and logistic support, and to agitate general works and civic groups for the crucial general strike. Castro also had a back-up plan. In case the original battle failed, the rebels would move into the Sierra Madre jungles to begin a rural guerrilla campaign, which was what Castro was forced to carry on. After a two year campaign of jungle warfare following the failed initial landing, Castro assembled a large peasant army, which marched into Santa Clara. On December 28, the head of Batista's army met with Castro and tried unsuccessfully to strike a deal. On January 1, 1959, Batista fled Cuba with US$ 7 million in his suitcase. Castro entered Havana on January 9 to a spectacular welcome from more than a million people and assumed command of the nation. His people's revolution had triumphed. III. Ideologies of communism
Cuba's new constitution, ratified by Castro in 1976 effectively declares Communism to be the only legitimate party in Cuba. It establishes a central committee of 225 deputies to be elected by the Party congress. At the top of this political structure is...
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