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Cuba from 1959 through the late 1980s, it accomplished its major goals: sovereignty and independence, equalizing income and fostering social justice. Thanks to the revolution, Cuba was transformed from an informal United States colony through 1958, into a proud nation. In the 1970s and 80s, Cuban troops fought battles in Angola that changed the history of southern Africa.For forty plus years Cuban artists of all genres, athletes, doctors and scientists became world-renowned. The revolution took a relatively unhealthy population and made it healthy, a relatively illiterate people and gave it literacy.Yes, Cubans paid a price: divided families; injustices committed in the name of the revolution; abridgement of civil liberties - albeit this was certainly not new. It did not allow a free press nor foster competitive politics Those with material aspirations suffered the frustration of egalitarianism.The revolution destroyed the old society, which merited obliteration. The reactionary Catholic Church hierarchy and the hypocritical upper class left the island, along with the mafiosos who ran the hotels and casinos, in collaboration with the Batista government. The revolution replaced the old society with the state, which would be the instrument to bring Cuba out of underdevelopment and then, according to Marxist theory, disappear. But the bureaucracy endured, to the dismay of most Cubans.
In light of the US determination to punish disobedience, the survival of Cuba\'s revolution appears miraculous. In April 1961, the CIA sent 1500 Cuban exiles to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. It failed. Between 1961-3 alone, the CIA backed thousands of violent sabotage operations, including dozens of assassination attempts.Reacting to the US-based counterrevolution, Cuba built a state security aparatus. Once operational, these kinds of repressive bureaucracies reproduce. The Cuban revolution does repress those who disagree. I think this is a serious issue. But this should not obscure the fact that it has real enemies who have attacked it violently for forty-four plus years. But to understand it, one must place it inside its historical context.By 1959, colonial nations had begun to revolt against their masters for independence and development, to right the wrongs of centuries in decades.But to understand it, one must place it inside its historical context.By 1959, colonial nations had begun to revolt against their masters for independence and development, to right the wrongs of centuries in decades. Cuban revolution has maintained threads of historical coherence.
In the 1860s and then again in the 1890s, Cubans tried to gain independence from Spain. Castro picked up on this historical thread when he led his 26th of July force against Fort Moncada. Like Jose Marti\'s charge on horseback into the Spanish machine guns in 1895, the Moncada assault smacked of desperation,and conviction.
Those who carried out these acts believed that a display of dramatic heroism would light fire to the popular will. Five and a half years after the Moncada assault, Castro\'s guerrillas marched triumphantly into Havana.
Where is Cuba going?,
. Cubans at least have the advantages of institutional equality and services sorely lacking in most of the third world- thanks to their Revolution.
Russia and Cuba: Two Revolutions Compared
Another fallacy about the nature of the Cuban Revolution can perhaps be best illustrated by contrasting the early stages of the Russian Revolution of 1917 with the Cuban events. Analogies between the Russian and Cuban Revolutions--like analogies in general--fail to take into account certain important differences:
Czarism was OVERTHROWN by the spontaneous revolts of the peasant and proletarian masses only after a prolonged and bloody civil war.
In Cuba, the Batista regime COLLAPSED WITHOUT A STRUGGLE for lack of popular support. There were no peasant revolts. No general strikes. Theodor Draper (and many other observers) argues persuasively that since there were at least "500,000 agricultural workers in Cuba" there could not have been many peasants in a In Russia, the masses made the social revolution BEFORE the establishment of the Bolshevik government. Lenin climbed to power by voicing the demands of, and legalizing the social revolutionary DEEDS of the workers and peasants: "All Power to the Soviets," "The Land to the Peasants," "The Factories to the Workers," etc. In Cuba, Castro, for fear of losing popular support, carefully avoided a social-revolutionary platform--assuming that he had one. Unlike Lenin, he came to power because he promised to put into effect the bourgeois-democratic
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