3IndependenceLong after Mexico and Central America gained independence, Cuba was still ruled by the SpanishDuring the late 1800’s, the people there rebelled many times; however, they were unable to gain independence on their ownIn 1898, the United States declared war on SpainThis resulted in the Spanish – American War
4The Spanish – American War Motivations of the United StatesHelp the people of Cuba and Puerto Rico gain freedom from SpainProtect the many U.S. owned sugar cane plantations on the islandsAfter one year of fighting, Spain lost it’s colonies in the AmericasPuerto Rico became a U.S. dependencyCuba became an independent country
5Time of DictatorshipAfter independence, Cuba had a series of dictatorsA dictator is a person who has complete control over a country’s governmentCuba’s dictators were careful to stay friendly with the United States and they welcomed U.S. businesses and touristsDuring this time period, The United States was Cuba's main trade partnerHavana, Cuba’s capital, offered tourists luxury hotels and casinosMost Cubans; however, remained poor
6Time of DictatorshipThe Cuban people often protested against these dictatorsIn the 1950’s, Cubans who were angry at the government found a leader for their causeHe was a young lawyer named Fidel CastroCastro had been imprisoned in 1953 for leading an attack on the government. He was released and fled to Mexico where he organized opposition to the government.Returned to Cuba in 1956 to lead the opposition.
8Revolution takes HoldBorn in 1927 to a wealthy family, Castro was known for being a dynamic speakerIn college, he developed a deep interest in politicsBy late 1956, Castro’s opposition forces had established headquarters for their revolution in the mountains of southeastern Cuba
9Revolution takes HoldA few at a time, Cubans began to join Castro’s small armyAs the rebel army grew in size, they won several battles against government troopsAs the revolution grew stronger, Cuba’s dictator, Fulgencio Batista, fled the country on January 1st, 1959Fulgencio Batista (1938)
10Revolution takes HoldOn January 8th, 1959, Castro and his followers marched triumphantly into HavanaMore than half a million Cubans greeted them joyfullyIn a speech to the crowds, Castro promised that Cuba would have no more dictatorsThe revolution had succeeded, Castro became the new commander-in-chief of Cuba’s armyBy July 1959, Fidel Castro had taken full control of Cuba’s government
12Cuba in the Cold WarCastro took power in Cuba during the Cold War- a period of conflict between the United States and the Soviet UnionFidel Castro needed the friendship of a powerful country and the Soviet Union was eager to have Cuba as an allyWhy do you think that was?The Soviet Union began large scale trade with CubaThey also provided Cuba with weapons
13Cuba Becomes Communist The Soviet Union practiced an economic and political system known as CommunismUnder this system, the government plans and controls a country’s economy; in effect the government owns the country’s farms, factories and businessesSoon, Castro began to adopt Communist policies for Cuba’s economy
14Cuba Becomes Communist Castro’s government took over the big sugar cane plantations, many of which had been owned by U.S. companiesHis government then took over U.S. banks, oil refineries and other businesses on the islandHow did the U.S. respond to Communism in Cuba?
15Cuba Becomes Communist In return, the United States, led by President John F. Kennedy, cut off all trade with CubaWhile the Soviet Union was powerful, it traded oil, grain and machinery to Cuba for sugarMost of these products are worth more than sugar, so the Soviet Union was, in large part, supporting Cuba’s economyJohn F. Kennedy
16Cuba Becomes Communist Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba has struggled to maintain its Communist way of life without Soviet aidEconomic problems since the 1990’s have affected many aspects of Cuban life, including education and health careLack of fuel for buses and cars prevented some children from getting to schoolFood shortages have caused malnutritionToday, most Cubans are poor and struggle daily to provide for their families
17Castro as DictatorDespite promising to not become a dictator, that is exactly what he becameHe Redistributed land so that no one owned more than a certain amountHe Imprisoned people that spoke out against himHe controlled all radio, newspaper and television stations. (Censorship of media) Criticism of the government is illegalFrom 1959 to 2008, Fidel Castro remained head of state without ever being elected
18Raul CastroIn 2008; due to illness, Fidel’s younger brother, Raul Castro took over and now serves as dictatorAlthough he has introduced some economic reforms, Cuba remains the western hemispheres only communist nation
19Human Rights in CubaCuban law limits freedom of expression, assembly, movement and pressIt is illegal to leave the country without permissionEverything in newspapers, television and radio is heavily censored by the governmentHuman rights organizations have accused the Cuban government of torture, arbitrary imprisonment and unfair trialsBasically, Cuban citizens lack a lot of the basic human rights that we enjoy
20Cuba’s Economy What is Cuba’s most important product? Sugar The yearly sugar cane harvest is a key event for Cuba’s economy, sugar is their main trade commodityTourism is also important to the economy of Cuba
21Wrap Up Who helped Cuba gain it’s independence from Spain? Who was in control of Cuba’s government from 1959 to 2008?What was the “Cold War”?What is “Communism”?How did the U.S. react to Communism in Cuba?What is Cuba’s most important product?