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The Cuba of Fidel Castro

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1 The Cuba of Fidel Castro

2 IB Objectives The Cuban Revolution: political, social, economic causes; impact on the region Rule of Fidel Castro: political, economic, social and cultural policies; treatment of minorities; successes and failures

3 IB Paper 3 Sample Questions
Analyse the successes and failures of Castro’s social and economic policies in the period For what reasons, and with what results for the economy of Cuba, did Castro become ruler of Cuba? “Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba because of the weaknesses of Batista’s regime.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? Assess the reasons for the long survival of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba.

4 IB Paper 3 Sample Questions
“By 1962 Castro’s domestic policy had successfully transformed Cuba.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? How and why did Fidel Castro rise to power in 1959?

5 Lecture Outline Cuba before Castro Cuba and the US Rise of Castro
A. The July 26th Movement B. Opposition to Batista C. US Response Castro and the Cold War Castro Domestic and Foreign Policy Effects of the Collapse of European Communism

6 Key Terms Fulgencio Batista July 26th Movement Cuban Democracy Act
Helms-Burton Act

7 Cuba before Castro Fulgencio Batista governed Cuba from 1933-1944
1952 he overthrew the government. Sugar production employed 25% of the labor force and because of the seasonal nature of the sugar industry these workers were unemployed 8 months out of the year. The newest sugar mill had been built in 1925. Cuba’s sugar exports had decreased from 20% of the world’s production in the late 1920s to 10% in the 1950s.

8 Cuba and the US US purchased more than ½ of Cuban sugar and controlled 40% of its sugar production, 90% of its utilities and telephones, and 50% of its railroads. 80% of Cuba’s imports were from the US. Per capita income declined by 18% between 1952 and 1954.

9 July 26th Movement On July 26, 1953 Fidel Castro helped lead rebel attacks on 2 army barracks with the objective of acquiring arms and ammunition to use against the Batista government. The attack failed and 68 of the attackers were immediately captured, tortured, and executed. In May 1955, Batista granted a general amnesty to all prisoners and Castro was released from prison. In July Castro and a group of supporters moved to Mexico.

10 Opposition to Batista In April military officers were caught conspiring against Batista. In early December 1956, Castro and 82 followers landed in Cuba. Only 12 men escaped the ambush and made their way into the Sierra Maestra Mountains. As late as the middle of 1958 Castro’s band only numbered 160 men.

11 US Response In March 1958 the US stopped selling arms to Cuba, effectively withdrawing its support from Batista. Batista tried one last major military campaign against Castro during the summer of 1958 and when it failed he fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic in the early morning of New Year’s Day 1959. Castro and his 3,000 rebels entered Havana a week later. Around 250,000 Cubans left for the US between 1959 and 1962.

12 Castro’s Victory Castro and his 3,000 rebels entered Havana a week later. Around 250,000 Cubans left for the US between 1959 and 1962.

13 Castro, the USSR and the US
In February 1960 the Deputy Premier of the USSR visited Cuba and Cuba agreed to sell the Soviets 1 million tons of sugar in exchange for $100 million in credits and low priced Soviet crude oil. In the summer of 1959 the Eisenhower administration instructed US refineries in Cuba to not refine Soviet crude oil. In retaliation, Castro nationalized the refineries. Eisenhower than cancelled the Cuban sugar quota for the rest of the year and the Soviet Union agreed to purchase the sugar.

14 Castro, the USSR and the US
Over the next few months, Castro nationalized all US owned businesses in Cuba. In October Eisenhower embargoed all US exports to Cuba. A few days before the presidential inauguration of Kennedy the US cut its diplomatic relations with Cuba. April 1961 Bay of Pigs Cuban Missile Crisis

15 Cuban Missile Crisis

16 Cuban Economy under Castro
In 1963 Castro decided to augment Cuba’s supply of foreign currency by increasing sugar production to 10 million tons by 1970; this failed. In 1970 Cuba produced a record 8.5 million tons of sugar, but the increased production caused a glut on the market and the price of sugar fell to ½ of what it was in 1963. Castro established a system of free education through university level, healthcare, child care, social security benefits, and government subsidized housing.

17 Cuban Economy Under Castro
Cuba had the most equal distribution of income in all of the Americas. In a 1994 poll by the Miami Hearld, 69% of Cubans identified themselves as revolutionaries, socialists, or communists and 58% believed the revolution had bettered their lives. In % of Cuba’s foreign trade was made up of non-Communist nations. Cuba was still dependent on sugar and when its price fell to 8 cents a pound in 1977 the country’s economic growth stopped.

18 Cuba and Africa In 1975, Castro sent 20,000 troops to Angola and this aid was decisive in allowing a Marxist regime to gain control of the country. About 20% of Cuba’s military served overseas in 1978, most of it in Africa. In 1978, 20,000 troops were sent to Ethiopia to help prop-up that country’s leftist government. In 1982 Cuban troops began building an airfield in Grenada. The US invaded Grenada in 1983. In 1979 more than 14,000 Cuban aid workers were serving abroad.

19 Domestic Opposition In ,000 Cubans swarmed the Peruvian embassy requesting political asylum. Castro allowed all who wished to leave the island to emigrate by sea and about 125,000 Cubans fled to Florida. Castro also sent 5,000 common criminals and mentally ill people to the US.

20 Cuban Debt When interest rates increased in the 1980s, Cuba had to restructure its foreign debt of $3.5 billion. Cuba also had to renegotiate its $7 billion debt with the Soviet Union.

21 Effects of the Collapse of European Communism
In 1992 and ,000 people fled to the US from Cuba. In 1993 the US dollar was legalized as a currency of exchange thereby allowing the Cuban government to use the $400 million a year that flowed into the island from Cuban exiles. Food production increased by over 17% in 1996. In 2004 Cuba went off the duel dollar-peso system.

22 US and Cuba Relations In 1992 Congress passed the Cuban Democracy Act which prevents subsidiaries of US companies that are located outside the US from trading with Cuba even if the country they were located in allowed trade with Cuba. In February 1996 the Cuban air force shot down 2 US civilian aircraft over international airspace. Congress retaliated with the Helms-Burton Act which allows US citizens to sue foreign corporations who profit from trade or investment in any properties expropriated by Castro and the US government can penalize foreign companies that conduct business with Cuba.

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