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Cuba, or as the sleeping alligator as it known by Cubans, is the largest island in the Caribbean it was founded on the 27th October 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Cuba contains a lot of history but one of the most important historical moments in the Cuban history was the Cuban revolution. The Cuban revolution was a fight for an independent Cuba. A Cuba free from the control from the United States of America.
There is a lot of debate about the revolution, debates such as why it took place.
Some Cubans (the bourgeoisie) preferred a reform rather than a revolution. They were scared f blacks (slaves) who made up 145% of the population. Another argument on why the Cuban revolution took place was due to anti colonial rule. This then provides the base for the argument of actual involvement of America as to why Cuba revolted. I shall seek to show American involvement in Cuba and how this became the driving force for the revolution to take place.
America was interested in Cuba for economic protection. The Americans wanted Cuba since the 1800's. Thomas Jefferson once said that Cuba was an invaluable addition to the United States. Cuba dominated the sugar trade industry more than 90% of Cuban sugar went to the Unites States along with other produce.
This was the main reason America wanted to hold onto Cuba, and not give them independence. America signed the Treaty of Paris on the 10th of December 1898 and the decision did not incorporate the agreement of the islanders.
However, Cuba was allowed to elect their own government on 2May 20 1902 when Cuba was declared a republic.
Even though Cuba was considered a republic, the United States had the right to intervene at any time 3'for the preservation of Cuban independence'. A U.S. naval station was also placed at Guantainamo Bay.
By 1925 the Unites States of America controlled the telephone company, the railways, and the electricity companies. Sugar trade was still the major source of revenue for Cuba. By the 1920's small sugar farmers were faced out of business by larger estates wieners primarily U.S. operators. Due to the concentration of sugar production other export produce were pushed aside. This then forced Cuba into a corner where they then had to import all other goods such as tomatoes even cars were supplied to Cuba by the United States.
Americans living in Cuba prospered greatly and they were very wealthy while normal Cubans lived in poverty, reducing their standards of livings. Most politicians were seen to be corrupt and working only for the benefit of the United Stated and its government. However, a Cuban called Gerardo Machado won the Cuban presidency seat in 1924, his slogan was 4'honesty in government'. Gerardo was a good leader for Cuba and stood for many ideas and beliefs that benefited the Cuban people. However, his downfall came in 1933 when he introduced Cuba to its first brutal military dictatorship.
The Cuban people were upset and disgusted by the corruption of the Cuban government, the oppression of Cuban nationalists and their continued situation of poverty. So they looked for a leader to improve their lives and the Cuban way of life.
The person to answer their prayers was a man called Fidel Castro Ruz. Fidel Castro was born in 1926 a son of a Spanish immigrant; Castro entered university to study politics at the tender age of 19. On entering university two major historical events were in the mouths of all Cubans; the independence struggles of 1868 to 1898 and the 5revolutionary movement which overthrew Geraldo Machado in 1927-1933. 6Castro joined the orthodox party but then left as he realised that armed insurrection was the only way.
Castro was a great intellect and had great determination, he had the ability to win affection from the Cuban people and Cubans were on a first name basis with Castro. Castro was a great speaker he had the ability to speak fro long periods of time with no break. Castro promised his people something, he promised to give something back to every Cuban in Cuba, and many rich Cubans fled the island when Castro took over. Others stayed thinking there would be few reforms, free elections and then things went back to normal.
7Castro led the fight for retribution for the billing of the 20, 000 Cubans during the 1950's.
Under Castro the government changes things for Cubans. New rules were passed within the first year. Pay increases took place and rent decreased. The main law that made the most significant difference was the Agrarian reform law. 8This law was that no farm could exceed 400 hectares, anything bigger than this would have to go to the state. Due to this law Cuba gained back farmland and redistributed it to the poor, another benefit of this was that it opened up job opportunities for many Cubans.
These rules and many more won favour with the Cuban people, but still in the back of many minds was the question of a free election. Castro declared 'The revolution has no time to waste in such foolishness.' The United States of America by this time began to get very worried about the hold they have the island and the developments that were taking place.
As time passed it became obvious that the Unites States and the smaller island Cuba was going to have problems and confrontations were expected. The new laws that were put in place in Cuba upset Americans greatly and a system of 'get back' was set up. Cuba tried to push America out by stop buying American oil. 9America retaliated by reducing Havana's sugar quota and in October 1960 and by cancelling all purchases of sugar and prohibiting exports to Cuba all except food and medical supplies. All diplomatic relations were broke off in 1961.
10In 1961 the president of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy agreed for an invasion of Cuba to take place and it was led by US- based exiles.
However John F. Kennedy's plan to invade Cuba failed. His idea of the Cuban people turning in uproar against Castro did not work. And Cuba also had a militia force ready and willing to defend its homeland.
On the 17th of April 1961, America failed to destroy the Cuban air force. This then left it open for Castro to bomb American boats and planes. Exiles were captured and exchanged for supplies from the Unites States. This gave all Cubans a positive boost and Kennedy was embarrassed before his American people. Castro however was seen as a hero and Cuba was jubilant. Due to failed attempts by the United States to stop Castro they then resulted to assassination attempts on Castro.
Castro, so pleased to have defeated Kennedy declared 11'They can't forgive our being right here under their noses, seeing how we have made a revolution, a socialist revolution right here under the very noses of the United States.'
In June 1961 communists were included in the ruling political alliance. This can be seen as the point where Castro let the world know his shift towards communism. He later admitted to being a Marxist- Leninist, and said that he had hid this as to gain greater support from the Cubans in his revolution.
Cuba was now on its own. The United States would now isolate Cuba and the only place Cuba could turn to for support was the USSR. However, Moscow was not completely in agreement. Cuba was too far and would be too hard to control from such a distance. But in the end Moscow agreed to make Cuba a client, they bailed Cuba out by an oil-sugar exchange this helped the Cuban economy greatly in the late 1980's. Cuba now a socialist country began trading with other socialist countries. Cuba how had a support and was not alone.
The USSR was its main supporter and agreed to help defend Cuba against US missiles. In 1962 Cuba looked to Moscow for military support and that they did, the world sat anxiously waiting to hear if a war was to start. Moscow refused to back down unless America did. The Russians said they would withdraw their weapons if the Unites States agreed not to invade Cuba. America agreed and both parties stepped down.
Cuban committees for the defence of the revolution were set up and anyone who was not in agreement of the revolution was imprisoned. Cuban economy declined further and they looked further to the Soviet for help. 12The communist party became the only legal political organisation in the country. 13Fidel Castro was the constitutional head of state.
By the end of the decade the Cuban economy improved, however this did not stop thousands of Cubans from migrating to the United States. This made Castro realise he had to improve Cuban life. 14He introduced agricultural markets; this is where farmers could sell produce surplus to the quota they supplied to the state. However, in 1986 Castro dissolved the farmers markets and bought back hyper centralisation. His socialist party was also placed in the middle of the Cuban economy. Castro also pent huge amounts of money on defence systems for the country.
15Castro presented Cubans a model for revolution throughout the world. One reason the revolution succeeded was the emigration of the most disgruntled Cubans by the end of the 1960's. They were the Cuban middle class and migrated mostly to Florida.
16Castro still remains the unchallenged leader of Cuba. And Cuba has not been able to break free of its economic dependence. Castro believed socialism was a question of power and of wealth distribution. He saw the revolution as a struggle for independence from colonial rule to independence from the United States. He gained inspiration from anti- imperialist movements found in Latin America, politicians such as Jorge Gaitan and Colonel Jacoba Arbenz.
17Today Cuban resources show it could easily be the strongest economy in the Caribbean, agriculture is strong and mineral wealth is significant. Tourism should be the greatest in the Caribbean and Cuba's labour force can be seen as strong as it is young, healthy and highly educated at other countries levels. However, things are not that great. Unemployment levels are high and the economy is not that strong as it should be or could be. However, Cuba does have a low crime rate.
The relationship with the United States of America is almost the same. There is no relationship. Castro has not dealings with the United States and as long as it remains a communist country under Castro's rule there will be no agreement between the two countries.
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