Rule Of Fidel Castro

Castro's Policies

Political

Economic

  • cut exorbitant utility rates charged by U.S. companies
    • provided compensation via state bonds
  • Agrarian Reform Law: confiscated estates and created cooperatives under management of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform
    • forbade foreigners from owning agricultural land
  • February 1960 - negotiated agreement with Soviet Union for $200 million over 4 years
    • less than Batista trade with Soviet Union
  • June 1960 - Texaco, Royal Dutch Shell, and Standard Oil demanded payment for imports
    • Castro canceled exclusive contract by the three and created the Cuban Petroleum Institute to find other supplies
    • no one in the West would trade with them
    • turn to Soviets to trade crude oil for sugar
    • Eisenhower cut Cuba's sugar quota
    • Cuba expropriated the oil companies
    • October 14th - U.S. trade embargo

Social

  • Education was regarded as the key to the future
    • created Teacher-training institutes
    • # of schools quintupled
    • teachers flocked to most remote corners to teach
    • illiteracy virtually disappeared within a few years
    • 1971- 1/4 the countries 8 million inhabitants were in school
    • free education from nursery school through university
    • Cuba began to publish ridiculous numbers of books
      • reading became national pastime.
    • Cuba has highest per capita book production in Latin America and highest literacy rate in the hemisphere.
  • Health care became a revolutionary priority
    • hospitals built in remote cities and doctors travel throughout countryside
    • all medical services were free
    • by 65 Cuba spent 10 times as much as Mexico and nearly 30 times as much as Ecuador on healthcare per capita
    • health of nation improved dramatically and life expectancy lengthened
    • medical care system became envy of the hemisphere
  • Public housing became an interest for the gov.
    • real estate market had been one of the prime areas of investment, speculation, and corruption
    • new laws gave everyone housing
    • no family needed to pay more than 10% of its income for rent

Cultural

  • encouraged arts, painting, and literature
  • National Ballet emerged as one of the top dancing companies in the world
  • nuevo cancion movement brought revolutionary themes to 1960s music, combining rock and Latin sounds
  • Film was perhaps the greatest achievement
  • March 1959- Cuban Film Institute created.
    • produced documentaries, newsreels, feature-length films, and the most serious Latin American journal on film, Cine Cubano
  • Cuban films have won international awards, have been featured regularly in film festivals and have been organized into retrospectives in US cities
  • attention on interpretation of country's past
  • has capacity for criticism of revolution
    • many films have focused on continuing machismo in Cuban society

Treatment of Minorities

  • Fidel targeted women during and after revolution
  • FMC, Federation of Cuban Women- 3 months after triumph of revolution
    • goal 1- mobilize women to support the revolution through work, participation in the literacy campaign, and in neighborhood projects
  • gov provided daycare centers for women who left the house for most of the day
  • health needs targeted through perinatal care and legalization and availability of abortions
  • female education soared, and women entered professions in record numbers
    • guaranteed 18 weeks paid maternity leave
  • At home, double standard prevailed
  • 1975 family code- a revolutionary couple had to be equal partners
    • both parents were required to equally participate in child rearing and housework.
    • not much enforcement but at least the moral weight of the revolution was behind the idea of equality
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