The Cuban Revolution

Cuban Revolution

Causes

Political

  • Fulgencio Batista was an oppressive dictator.
    • Ramon Grau San Martin tried to institute social reform in the 1930s.
    • Fulgencio, however, instigated a coup and took over the government.
    • Castro was an Orthodox party candidate in elections aborted by Batista's coup
    • theft and corruption in the government

Economic

  • sugar (75-85% of all export earnings)
    • United States was the single export market
    • U.S. Congress set quotas on Cuba's sugar export with American sugar growers in mind
    • expensive and extensive sugar production limited the existence of secondary industries in Cuba
    • Cuba gave preference to U.S. products in exchange (trading away Cuba's industrial opportunities)
  • 1953 - U.S. owned 40% of the sugar production, 50% of railroads, and 90% of utilities
  • latifundia (great land and estates) dominated by minority group of elites

Social

  • most of the population lived in the countryside
    • 43% were illiterate
    • 60% lived in homes with dirt floors
    • 1 in 14 had electricity
    • rural wage workers worked only during harvest (123 days)

Impact

  • force the U.S. to acknowledge deep-rooted causes for revolution in Latin America
  • U.S. felt threatened by Castro (Communist influence in Western Hemisphere)
    • failed attempt to overthrow Castro (Bay of Pigs)
      • ended up showing Castro's strength
  • provided a revolutionary model for other Latin American countries
  • Alliance for Progress: small scale Marshall Plan for Latin America to encourage economic development and democracy (not applicable to Cuba)
    • failed miserably
  • 1960s - guerrilla movements began to develop
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