To what extend did the Cuban economy during and directly after the rule of Fulgencio Batista affect Fidel Castro’s rise to and maintenance of power?
A. Plan of Investigation
The aim of this investigation is to analyze the extent to which the Cuban economy during and directly after the rule of Fulgencio Batista affected Fidel Castro’s rise to and maintenance of power in Cuba. The Castro regime rose to power in the late 1950’s and officially took office in 1965, creating a revolution throughout Cuba which would shape its entire culture for decades to come. However, the relative swiftness with which Fidel Castro was able to seize and maintain power was due largely due to the dissatisfaction of Cuba’s socioeconomic progress under Fulgencio Batista as a result of his economic policies. The investigation will focus on how the economy during Batista’s rule from 1940 to 1944 and 1952 to 1959 contributed to Fidel Castro’s rise to power and how Castro’s Revolutionary economic policies regarding Cuba and her interactions with other countries allowed him to maintain this power for decades. To do this, I will look at books such as The Cuban Economy: Measurement and Analysis of Socialist Performance, by Andrew Zimbalist, to evaluate the direct correlation between economic policy and citizen contentedness/effective leadership using economic figures from the time of Batista’s rule. I will also use articles such as “Cuba: The Crisis State of Capitalism” by Hector Reyes to directly perceive the social instability created by Batista’s economic policies. Word count: 200
B. Summary of Evidence
Fulgenico Batista, like the majority of Cuban youth in the early 1900’s, was raised in a modest agrarian society. During Batista’s childhood, the liberal leader Jose Miguel Gomez did little to combat widespread poverty and a dramatically increasing national crime rate while the wealthy Cuban leaders continued to prosper in their wealth from a connection with the United States mob. In 1921, at age twenty, Batista joined the Cuban army (Havana Guide). During this time, the Republic of Cuba was under the leadership of Alfredo de Zayas, leader of the Cuban Popular Party. De Zayas was known for mass educational reforms despite Cuba’s bankruptcy at the time. De Zayas only served one term, however, before giving way to Gerard Machado, a liberal who killed opposition and bribed powerful military figures. Machado also bribed Congress into compliance and in April of 1927, altered the Constitution to extend his presidential term without requiring re-elections (“Gerard Machado y Morales”). The economy once again plummeted by the early 1930’s. Thousands of workers went on strike as a result of the increasing poverty and decreasing living conditions (“The Sergeants Revolution”). On August 12, 1933, President Machado’s president turned dictatorship was overthrown, replaced by a weak United States-supported provisional government. This government could not control the riots and mobs which would break out throughout Cuba in revolt against members of the old regime. Therefore, on September 4th of 1933, Fulgencio Batista and other members of the Cuban Army installed a new leader, Dr. Ramon Grau, in the Sergeants’ Revolt. Because of his role in the revolt, Batista became the Chief of Staff of Cuba, where he would have great influence over Grau (Havana Guide). By 1934, Batista forced opposition as well as original collaborators such as Grau out of office until he himself was elected president of Cuba in 1940 (Chehabi and Linz). Batista was a self-described “progressive socialist” at this time and received support from the communist party in Cuba. After his election, he used the communist party to take control of labor unions to ensure there would be no more strikes in return for increased wages as well as a cumbersome process in order to deter employers from firing (Caro). With the support of the labor unions, sugar production skyrocketed, accounting...
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