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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cuban Revolution

Fidel Castro (left), Fulgencio Batista (right)
A few items I came across in my reading about the Cuban Revolution:

1. 
In 1958, Cuba was a relatively well-advanced country by Latin American standards, and in some cases by world standards. On the other hand, Cuba was affected by perhaps the largest labor union privileges in Latin America, including bans on dismissals and mechanization. They were obtained in large measure "at the cost of the unemployed and the peasants", leading to disparities. Between 1933 and 1958, Cuba extended economic regulations enormously, causing economic problems. Unemployment became a problem as graduates entering the workforce could not find jobs. The middle class, which was comparable to that of the United States, became increasingly dissatisfied with unemployment and political persecution. The labor unions supported Batista until the very end. Batista stayed in power until he was forced into exile in December 1958. - Cuba
"An arms embargo – imposed on the Cuban government by the United States on 14 March 1958 – contributed significantly to the weakness of Batista's forces."  - Cuban Revolution
What's going on here? I thought Cuba was our friend. Seems there was a minor kerfuffle where some students tried to take out Batista and got squashed. Typical schizoid American foreign policy.

3. Then we have this quote:
"I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country's policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear."—U.S. President John F. Kennedy, interview with Jean Daniel, 24 October 1963[27]  - Cuban Revolution
It wasn't until a couple of years after the revolution that the government turned communist:
Fidel Castro made it abundantly clear that he was implementing a socialist order in Cuba. He did not start out as a communist, but was forced to go that route following the fallout with the USA when they refused to trade with Cuba. Fidel Castro then turned to the Soviet Union for help, which they gave, but with several conditions. The main condition was that Cuba should go communist. - Jamaica Observer

4.
Carlos Franqui. Now you see him, now you don't.
Fidel takes a page from Stalin's book. Franqui was in on the revolution up until 1968 when he broke with Castro and moved Puerto Rico.

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