After almost five and a half years of guerrilla warfare, Fidel Castro finally seized power of Cuba on January 1st, 1959; which in turn led to the Cuban Revolution. This take over was the result of many causes such as the social, economic, military, religious and political conditions that existed in Cuba at the time. Causes like inequality amongst the classes, dependence upon America and their control over Cuba, the issues surrounding the Cuban military who killed anyone that wanted change, Fidel’s strong vision, and most significantly, Fulgencio Batista’s largely unpopular military dictatorship were just a few of the reasons as to why Fidel Castro was able to take control of his land. Without Fidel’s leadership, many historians believe that one of the most divisive revolutions in history would never have happened, and Cuba would still be in a similar position today.
The state of Cuba’s social matters during this radical time was a prime contributor to Fidel’s chances of gaining power, due to the support he had from the lower and middle classes of Cuba. Like most countries emerging from colonial rule, Cuba had an entrenched class system, defined by their economic stature. The upper-class consisted of the rich, (owners of businesses, plantations and politicians); the lower-class consisted of the poor, (field and factory workers); the middle-classes, (professionals, army officers and government workers).
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Lower and middle class intellectuals were unhappy with their social and economic position and their inability to breach the political power that was held by the upper-class. A good education was virtually the only way an individual could hope to improve their social and economic position. Paradoxically, the nature of the Cuban economy often forced newly trained, middle-class professionals to settle for occupations far below the levels for which they were qualified. This under-employment was a constant source of frustration for individuals so afflicted; it not only cost them wealth, but deprived them of the prestige that they deserved. Fidel Castro was dissatisfied with Cuba’s social standards and sought to change it.
As Fidel Castro once stated “I believe that people have a right to decide their own destiny; people own themselves. Along with this comes a responsibility to ensure that individual actions, in the pursuit of a personal destiny, do not threaten the well-being of others while the ‘pursuit’ is in progress”. (1)
It is clearly expressed in the above quote that Fidel Castro was against the unjust social reforms of his nation at the time and intended to change them when he eventually gained power in 1959. This quote also reflects on the negative aspects of Cuba’s expectations of certain classes: due to the prejudices and power created by the upper-class, people in the lower and middle classes were not able to experience anything outside of what was already organised for them.
Once Batista was overthrown in 1959, his military dictatorship was also taken away. Cuba, with a new leader, was brought into a communist society inspired by German philosopher Karl Marx. This communist society meant that Cuba was now a society in which all property was publicly owned and each person worked in a job where they were paid according to their abilities and needs. This resulted in another social enhancement. Food used to be scarce for lower and middle class families as they could not afford much, but when they had a vocation, food was no longer as big a problem. While a communist society is often condemned by the Western world, many citizens of Cuba saw this as an improvement and a superior alternative to the military dictatorship they were once under.
... colonists’ lives changed significantly in many ways after the American Revolution, the economic, political, and social conversions are viewed ... to action. There was no real class with poverty, but economic pressure added to a feeling of the ... the configuration of its personal relationships, affecting social development. Different social classes wanted the revolution for diverse reasons. Wealthy ...
Under Fulgencio Batista’s military dictatorship, Cuba’s economy was largely dependant on America’s consumerism. They were Cuba’s largest source of income as they purchased regular amounts of sugar directly from Cuba. Sugar was the largest beneficiary to Cuba’s economic stance as it was one of the only exports that was bought in vast amounts. Without sugar and America, Cuba could have been struggling to escape the pitfalls of a third world country. This was not an economic aspect of Cuba that Fidel was proud to admit.
Cuba and the U.S.A. have been interested with one another well before their independence movements. Plans for the purchase of Cuba from the Spanish Empire were put forward at various times in the United States and as the Spanish influence waned in the Caribbean, the United States gradually gained a position of economic and political dominance over the island, with the vast majority of foreign investment holdings and the bulk of imports and exports in its hands as well as a strong influence on Cuban political affairs. This dependence agitated Fidel Castro who openly admitted that he was a socialist who would fight for Cuba’s independence which could only ever be achieved once they grew out of their reliance on America. Castro relentlessly promoted change in Cuba’s economic structure.
Wesley Wolfe’s book: ‘Cuba: 1898 – 1959’, says ‘In 1891 the U.S. Congress removed the tariff on most sugar and negotiated trade agreements with Spain that increased Cuban sugar exports to the United States. This newly opened market increased Cuban dependency on the U.S. market and supported continuing increases in Cuba’s sugar production capacity. However, in 1894, the Congress reversed itself and reinstated the tariffs on sugar. The economic whiplash effect of the rapidly changing U.S. sugar policies devastated the Cuban economy and led to the economic and social upheavals that set the stage for twentieth-century Cuba and the end of Spanish dominance. (2)
... tremendous anti-Batista sentiment to guarantee his role as a key political leader in Cuba. Bibliography: Leonard, Thomas M. Castro and the Cuban Revolution. London ... was experiencing due to the troubles the sugar industry was having. Sugar was one of Cuba?s main exports, meaning that a drop ...
This section of ‘Cuba: 1898 – 1959’, states the situation of Cuba in relation to America’s consumerism. It mentions that America was able to change it’s importation of sugar as it pleased and set up various reforms which could lead Cuba into economic downfall without any notice or expectation. This prompted Fidel to create laws which taught his communist society to support their own economy instead of relying on the help from an outside source. Another reason for Castro’s abdication of America’s support is the fact that he was an ardent socialist who believed in the power of his own nation.
After the Cuban Revolution of 1959 relations deteriorated between the United States and Cuba as a trade embargo was set up by America which made it illegal for all U.S. corporations to do business with Cuba. This embargo remains active today.
Through-out Fidel’s rise to power from 1953 – 1959, Fulgencio Batista (leader of Cuba’s military dictatorship) ordered all of his soldiers to kill or torture anyone that supported Castro’s vision or disagreed with his regime. This abuse of power over the militant forces was ordered because Batista became insecure and nervous about the growing support for Castro and the declining amount of power that he held. To combat this attack, Che Guevara, (Castro’s right-hand man) was ordered to adopt the method of Guerrilla warfare with his army. Guerrilla warfare was an extremely frequent method of attack through-out the Cuban Revolution.
In the picture below we see an attack on Castro’s army directed by Batista’s military.
The unnecessary abuse of power that the military acted on prompted Fidel to overthrow Batista as this meant that no more unfortunate lives would be lost due to dissimilar views (although he contradicted this moral on his quest for power by also ordering his army to kill anyone that disagreed with communism).
As we can see in the picture, the battle between the two leaders was violent and brutal, which is the way that many Cubans still see the Cuban Revolution as being today.
After two years of brutal Guerrilla warfare, based on the uprising against Batista’s regime, Che Guevara, leader of the communist army, defeated the rebels which inspired Batista to flee the island with an amassed personal fortune. On January 1st, 1959, Castro was now able to gain power over Cuba and introduce his Communist ideology.
... have to be the Cuban Revolution. It all began when when Sergeant Fulgencio Batista seized power during a election. Batista had been president ... a desperate attempt to reach the U. S. The Cuban revolution is on going. It depends on which side you support ... them preferring Cuba’s democracy. Fidel Castro being a rising political maker, decided to plot against Batista. On the July 26, 1953, Castro made ...
Usually one of the most relevant factors contributing to social upheavals is that of Religion. Religious matters have instigated wars and disagreements between many countries for centuries. In the case of the Cuban Revolution, Religion was not overly significant in Fidel Castro’s plight for power between 1953 and 1959. Though it did create some trouble for the religious figures of Cuba at the time.
On the topic of Religion, Fidel Castro famously quoted his opinion on the matter; “When I was a young boy, my father taught me that to be a good Catholic, I had to confess at church if I ever had impure thoughts about a girl. That very evening, I had to rush to confess my sin. And the next night, and the next. After a week, I decided Religion wasn’t for me”. (4)
Although Fidel does not give us an insightful look into the philosophy of Religion, this quote shows that he is not affected by the concept of Religion. This bothered the Catholic Ministers during Cuba’s social upheaval. Prior to the Revolution, Cuba was strictly Catholic. Then the Revolution came along and the Catholic faith began to disintegrate and was not as valued.
Cuba’s policy on Religion has changed significantly since 1959. At the end of the Revolution religious Cubans were persecuted and could be denied jobs or an education by the government. In a Catholic country the changing patterns of the Catholic Church promoted the change that Cuba was undergoing as many sacred aspects were being altered to adhere to Cuba’s new reforms and beliefs.
The most significant contributor for Fidel Castro to continue on with the Revolution was the Political state that Cuba was in. Cuba had been under Batista’s military dictatorship since 1952 and it had caused many social, political, economic and military changes for Cuba, (not all of which were appreciated by the Cuban population).
Under his dictatorship, the economy went on a downward spiral. The poor people became poorer while the rich leaders became richer. Living conditions were almost 3rd world for the common Cuban citizen and crime was on the rise. These conditions inspired a group of revolutionaries to find a way of overthrowing the regime. The Cuban Revolution was born.
... and finished democracy in Cuba. As a result of Batista's actions, Castro tried to start a revolution against the Batista dictatorship. It was ... those around him. As a lawyer by training, Castro led the Cuban Revolution and transformed the island into the first Communist ... North Korea. Fidel Castro is one of the longest ruling leaders; 41 years in power, the age of the Cuban revolution. An affiliate ...
In the book, ‘A History Of The Cuban Revolution’, Aviva Chomsky writes; ‘Batista’s army, though large and well equipped, was poorly trained and poorly motivated’ (5) then she goes on to state, ‘The new military government also had little to offer in the way of solution to Cuba’s deep structural problems: over dependence on a single crop (sugar), political and economic subordination to the United States, and grinding poverty and inequality’. (6)
The first quote explains how Fidel Castro’s army managed to defeat Batista’s during Guerrilla warfare; which tells us that Batista’s military were not passionate about their struggle, while Castro’s were. The second quote gives us reasons as to why Fidel Castro (representing the people of Cuba) wanted change. They wanted change because under Batista’s leadership, their country was being driven into ruin and they needed reforms to stay alive.
In 1955, Batista made a mistake that would soon cost him his control. He released a group of revolutionaries who had tried to stage an uprising. During this year more uprisings were held, all of which were quashed with brute force from Batista and his army. Soon after, revolt took full force when Fidel Castro along with his brother Raul and Che Guevara staged an uprising that led to two events. Batista being overthrown and having to flee the country and Castro taking control of Cuba. Fulgencio Batista, who went from farmer to sergeant to president to dictator seemingly condoned the rise in problems. During his reign, he welcomed the support of the United States, allowed a rise in crime especially prostitution, became wealthy to the detriment of the Cuban people and ruled with a brutal hand. The only thing that stopped Batista’s control was the small group of revolutionaries who would take over and set up their own form of communism.
One of the most defining moments of the Cuban Revolution, was the infamous speech Fidel Castro gave in court on the 16th of October, 1953 when he was on trial for the attack on the Moncada Barracks. This trial helped propel Castro into public consciousness, as a leading figure in the resistance to the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Castro’s ‘History Will Absolve Me’ speech addressed, in it’s five hour delivery, the crimes of the Batista government and its illegitimacy, economic and social circumstances in Cuba and his hopes for a Cuba cleansed of poverty, corruption and degradation.
... of Fidel Castro’s revolution, the promise to the Cuban people is this – under a regime that is led by the people, not Batista and ... healthcare shall soon be a reality in many parts of Cuba. Moreover, workers in the large enterprises shall be given thirty ... their struggle, can. References: 1. Castro, Fidel. “History Will Absolve Me” 1953. 2. De La Fuente, Alejandro. “Cuba’s Racial Democracy: What Now ...
One matter that is evident during his speech is the supposed Jesus complex that many historians say Castro possessed. In his speech he says, “I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure, Jesus Christ”. (7) Castro also touches on his political stance, notably against capitalism, he says, “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition”. (8)
Fidel Castro has never been ashamed of putting forth his opinions and beliefs. Though historians are still debating today whether or not he helped bring Cuba into a more just society or placed Cuba under his communist reign because of his own selfishness, people see him as a symbol of hope and equality.
After years trying to overthrow corrupt military dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in 1959 Fidel Castro was finally able to gain political power over Cuba. Castro achieved power due to his upper hand and resolutions to the social, political, economic and military conundrums that Batista introduced into Cuba during his reign. These problems included immense poverty, inequality amongst the classes, Cuba’s dependence on America, the corrupt government and military and the largely unpopular Batista which all served as inspiration to seize power. No matter what problem Castro faced he usually had a resolution that helped Cuba in the long-run. Fidel Castro was the main instigator behind the Cuban Revolution and he managed to bring Cuba into a new era. When elected President, he introduced a communist leadership which has helped shape modern Cuba. To this day, he remains one of the most divisive figure in modern history.
1. F. Castro. Barbara Walters Interview: 20/20. Channel N.B.C. 11th of October, 2002.
2. W. Wolfe. Cuba: 1898 – 1959. Historical Text Archive. 1990 – 2009. Page 2.
3. N. Burchett. Guerrilla Warfare: Cuban Revolution. Hubpages. 1953 – 1959.
4. F. Castro. 638 Ways To Kill Fidel Castro. Discovery Channel. 23rd of May, 2003.
5. A. Chomsky. A History Of The Cuban Revolution. Viewpoints/Puntos De Vista. 1st of November, 2010. Page 40.
6. A. Chomsky. A History Of The Cuban Revolution. Viewpoints/Puntos De Vista. 1st of November, 2010. Page 33.
7. F. Castro. ‘History Will Absolve Me’ Speech. Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana, Cuba. 1975.
8. F. Castro. ‘History Will Absolve Me’ Speech. Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana, Cuba. 1975.
F. Castro. Barbara Walters Interview: 20/20. Channel N.B.C. 11th of October, 2002.
This interview covers many aspects of the Cuban Revolution, namely Fidel Castro’s involvement in the social upheaval. The interview also explores his opinions of the Cuban Revolution and his communist/socialist ideologies. The purpose of this interview is to give the audience insider knowledge into the mind of the man who led Cuba through the Revolution that helped shape Cuba into the land that it is today. We are presented with the interview through the biased perspective of network executives who take sound bites from his responses and then cut and edit them into one that is more controversial and marketable. This source is very useful as historians are able to gain an understanding of what led Castro to bring Cuba under a Communist reform despite its biased presentation. The source is very reliable as it is a live recording and the interviewer is respected journalist Barbara Walters.
W. Wolfe. Cuba: 1898 – 1959. Historical Text Archive. 1990 – 2009. Page 2.
This article explores the social, political, economic, religious and military reasons for the Cuban Revolution and what led Fidel Castro to challenge military dictator Fulgencio Batista. The purpose of the article is to inform and enable us to understand the reasons as to why the Revolution took place. We are presented with information from an unbiased third person perspective. The source is very useful as it gives us an understanding of the lead-up and reasoning for Fidel Castro’s seizure of power. While W. Wolfe isn’t a well known historian or journalist, the reliability of the source may be questioned, but we are presented with opinions from other history books which are respected.
N. Burchett. Guerrilla Warfare: Cuban Revolution. Hubpages. 1953 – 1959.
This photo presents us with an image of what it would have been like for the soldiers serving during the Cuban Revolution for either side and what Guerrilla Warfare was actually like. The purpose of the photo is to inform us of the hardships and the violent nature of Guerrilla Warfare and how the soldiers dealt with it. The photo is presented to us from an unbiased perspective as it features both teams (military and communist) engaging in battle. This photo is quite useful as it gives us an honest, unbiased depiction of what it would have been like for a soldier in this time, but it is also not useful as it does not present us with much depth. The photo is reliable as it depicts true events which actually took place during this time (as proved in combat gear).
F. Castro. 638 Ways To Kill Fidel Castro. Discovery Channel. 23rd of May, 2003.
This documentary presents us with various opinions towards the Cuban Revolution and the thoughts of different people. We are also shown snippets of film of Castro in interviews. The purpose of this interview is to show us the diverse views that people had on Castro and the polarising effect he had on the modern world. We are presented with separately biased opinions, but when presented in a collected amount like this, the source is unbiased because we are being shown the two ends of the spectrum. This documentary is useful for historians studying the different views of people and information to support their argument, but it is not useful if one is studying the history of the Cuban Revolution. The source is reliable as it is a documentary made by the History Channel which is a largely respected source of information.
A. Chomsky. A History Of The Cuban Revolution. Viewpoints/Puntos De Vista. 1st of November, 2010. Page 40.
This book gives us all of the information necessary regarding the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959. We are informed of the lead-up, the event and the aftermath in areas such as the social, political, economic, religious and military status of Cuba at each time. The purpose of the book is to inform us about the Cuban Revolution and give us an in depth knowledge and understanding as to how Castro was able to gain power and overthrow Batista. The information is presented from an unbiased perspective, as we are told the negative and positive aspects of many areas. This book is one of the most useful sources when studying the Cuban Revolution as it contains all of the knowledge that one would ever need to write an essay on the matter. The source is also very reliable as it is often regarded as the most highly-respected and comprehensive accounts of the Cuban Revolution.