The Turning Point



Dec. 17, 20001


Politics OAC


When a peaceful change cannot lead to the solution sought, a drastic change is the only way to go. Throughout history people have taken many various actions and measures in order to relieve them of oppressive situations. A revolution some times, although usually drastic and violent, is the only way to seek successful change. Such was the case, in the eyes of the Cubans, in the late 1950’s. Ever since their existence they had been either controlled or influenced by some sort of external power. Until 1902, the Spaniards, from half way across the ocean held control over all that was important. From 1902 and on, although Cuba held political power, the United States controlled Cuba economically; therefore every aspect of the country’s life had a foreign imprint (Perez-Stable 3). Fidel Castro, the leader of the revolutionary movement, led the people in a Revolution that would forever change the country. The Cuban people were dominated and oppressed throughout every aspect of their lives. After six decades of indirect foreign influences and increasing social injustice the country was ready for a new era. The search for social, political and economic solutions had lead Cubans to believe that a radical change would be the only solution.


The Cuban majority had many interests at the time; the government had interests as well, but not those of the majority. Social inequality and injustice stretched throughout the country from the lower, up to the higher classes. Radical ideas of socialism and anti-imperialism began to enter the minds of all those who had been suffering for so many years. “Revolutionary currents and radical thoughts persisted among Cuba’s intellectuals, workers and students, many of whom saw their nation being increasingly drawn into a global ideological battle that had worked against the interests of the Cuban majority” (Liss, 110). Both urban and rural workers shared a dream of a better life, something the current government, the Batista regime, wasn’t providing. Things like health care, education and public morality became a concern to those who couldn’t afford it and expected the government to provide it, namely the middle class. North American intervention began to show itself in all spheres of basic life. Ideas of nationalism began to sweep across the country promoting national independence and freedom from U.S influence (Perez-Stable 32, 3). People wanted their own justice, liberty and culture throughout the country, and this would eventually call for a break of the economic ties with the U.S.


Socialist alternatives were becoming more and more popular, with the need to change the nation’s capitalist relations of production (Liss 106). Both unemployment and underemployment kept workers struggling to stay alive, and searching for a change. The revolutionary objectives were to foster full employment and economic growth, and to redistribute national income. Most of Cuba’s economic policy was made in the private sector, without regard for the interest of the masses. That is to say, at the time money was being generated, but the distribution of wealth was tilted in favor of the wealthy, which caused much unrest among the middle and lower class (Encarta Encyclopedia). Foreign capital, largely from the United States, represented most of the national wealth and wouldn’t allow for the growth and diversification of the economic situation in Cuba. The Sugar industry expanded in the early 20th century, and accounted for 80% of goods exported from Cuba (Matthews 37). Cuba rose to be the largest exporter of sugar in the world, and the United States was the largest importer. “The centrality of sugar reinforced a vicious circle: without sugar, there was no Cuba, and there was no sugar without the US market” (Perez-Stable 5). Not only did U.S dominate Cuba’s industry but by the mid 1950’s they controlled 90% of its utilities, mines and cattle ranches, 50% of public railways and 25% of all bank deposits on the island (Liss 111). As long as Fulgencio Batista was president, Cuba’s economy would not benefit the people. His close ties and agreements with the U.S would restrain the people from any type of growth or diversification. The Cuban people believed that in order for the economic situation to improve, and the dependence on the U.S to cease, a new form