When Fidel Castro took control of Cuba he needed to adopt an ideology that would unite a people and a country, and place him in the role of sole leader and head of Cuba. While it is his millitant actions that gave him power, it was his adoption of communism which has kept Castro in power for so long. There have been many goverment’s overthrown in Latin America, but few if any coups have had the impact on world affairs than Castro coming into power in Cuba did.
By bringing communism to the western hemisphere this small latin american country was presenting a challenge to the United States that only such “superpowers” as Russia and Germany had done in the past. Castro was first introduced to the ideas of Marx and Lenin when he was in jail. When Castro first came into power he did not fully support communism, but his regime developed aspects of communism over time. Castro’s early ideas were not very extreme and did not differ from other opposers of Batista.
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Castro believed in a return to constitutional goverment, agarian reform, and profit sharing arrangments in industry. He recognized that Cuba had become a country of financial extrems. One’s class was either the elite or lower class, there was no middle class. While many Cuban leaders such as Che Guevera wanted the Cuban Revolution to serve as an example to other Latin American countries and create a revolution througjout Latin America, Castro was more concerned with establishing Cuba as independant and able to stand on it’s own.
Castro wanted the people to accept three key principals. Accept himself as the leader and sole controler of Cuba and it’s citizens, to have a genuine love and respect for your fellow Cuban citizens and to have a love for Cuba as a nation and country. Castro attempted to accomplish these goals by ridding Cuba of an upper class that had benefitted from the Batista regime. By ridding himself of the upper class he hurt Cuba economically, but felt in the long run doing so would make Cuba stronger.
Not only was Castro trying to change the face of Cuba and the mindstates of the Cuban people, but he totally redesigned the economy of Cuba. Before Castro came into power there was a terrible unemployement problem in Cuba. Castro decided to attack this problem through the creation of agricultural jobs. Castro wanted to take the power and money of the big companies and give it to the workers who picked the coffee or sugar cane. The United States feared that this would cause a lack of production and in the beginning of Castro’s program they were right.
Cuba’s exporting of sugar, and coffee both declined, and Cuba became a country that imports more than it exports. By the seventies and early eighties Cuba began to produce and export more. While Cuba was not making the money that had been made in the past more people were seeing a distribution of the money. Poverty was not wiped out in Cuba, but the living conditions for the lower class definatly improved. In his speech on July 26, 1968, Castro spoke of his future goals for Cuba.
He wanted to continue to depreciate the value of material incentives and raise the moral stimuli. At this time the goverment was also providing free: education, medical care, and social security and Castro wanted to expand this to free: housing, meals, transportation, and entertainment. The main goal for Castro was to reduce wage differences, creating an ideal situation where an engineer earns as much as a coffee picker. The Communist party in Cuba has undergone tremendous growth since it was put into place.
The revolution is not just an event that occured and ended, instead the revolution evolved and changed over time. In 1965 membership in the Communist party was 70,000. Communism was not received well by the public at first and membership declined by 1969 to 55,000. During the 1970’s and 1980’s is when the party has grown and prospered the most. By 1981 membership stood at 434,000. The membership of workers and females has increased with time and around 5% of Cuba’s population are members of the communist party.