Us Imperialism and the Cuban Revolution

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Cuba, which exemplified a prime example of Spanish imperialism, saw an increasing rate of dissatisfaction with Spanish rule amongst its people. This displeasure prove to be inversely proportional to the country’s profitability, meaning, as the economy thrived, dissatisfaction with the Spanish regime increased due to the fact that the profit did not go to Cuba, but instead to Spain’s treasuries. It was this dissatisfaction and Spain’s inability to provide pivotal developmental support which saw the introduction of the United States as a dominant force in Cuban society, based on Ramon Ruiz analysis in ‘Cuba: The Making of the 1959 Revolution’. According to Campbell and Cateau, the United States became active in Cuba through providing input, purchasing the majority of Cuban produced sugar and vast investment in the country’s sugar and tobacco industries as well as the railroad, banking, electricity and telephone services. The United States' first attempt at imperial expansion can be traced back to 1898. Feeling the effects of economic recession and depression up to 1897(see appendix A for definition and explanation of the economic depression), many felt the future security of the U.S. capitalist system rested heavily on expansion, not only on the North American continent but even into the Caribbean. Given the United States 'agenda to expand its territorial boundaries their involvement in Cuba, beginning at the Spanish-Cuban-American war(see appendix B for definition and context of war), comes as no surprise. The implications of the United States' involvement in Cuba, however, have been quite considerable. The argument that the U.S. imperialism was the primary cause of the Cuban Revolution of 1959, therefore, bares some amount of weight. The United States ' presence in Cuba , the de facto power they wielded over that country's economy and politics , was one of the major forces that drove the Cuban people to rebellion and fuelled the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro.

The research aims to support the notion that the primary catalyst of the Cuban Revolution was the United States’ imperialism during the 20th century. This hypothesis will be thoroughly examined using historical references from primary sources such as speeches, and secondary sources including analyses from prominent historians, from both a pro and a con standpoint enabling an objective conclusion to be drawn.


Beginning in 1894, nationalist sentiments arose in Cuba not only among the elites and colonists, but even among the working class. All desired to see a liberated Cuba, free from the colonial control Spain had long wielded over the island. According to Spalding this struggle “represented a class war as well as an anti-colonial and anti-imperialist one.”[1] The struggle between the European colonial power and its colony was heated but up to 1898 seemed no where near resolution. Popular sentiments among the United States populace were that U.S. intervention in the struggle between Spain and Cuba was necessary. Simons argues that the United States’ perspective was that “the Spanish presence in the Western hemisphere was an impediment to economic expansion of the US.”[2] It is with this that the United States entered the struggle. The Cuban people of course may have assumed that U.S. intervention in the war had no strings attached. But the U.S. government saw such intervention as a way of advancing its “Manifest Destiny” (see appendix C for definition of Manifest Destiny). As Cordero highlights “… the principle of Manifest Destiny and the pursuit of economic expansion made Cuba a target of opportunity.”[3] Lazo believes that U.S. involvement in other nations’ affairs is inevitable because of “the great power which it wields by virtue of its prestige, wealth, and strength”[4]. At the time of the Spanish-Cuban war, the U.S. was just rising to super-powerdom and thus successfully...
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