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Castro’s Domestic Policies – Part 1. Castro’s First Domestic Policies. Eliminate corruption and illiteracy Project to drain a huge swamp for rice-growing and tourism Low salaries were raised Big estates (many owned by the U.S.) were broken up and converted into cooperatives

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Castro’s Domestic Policies – Part 1

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Castro s domestic policies part 1

Castro’s Domestic Policies – Part 1

Castro s first domestic policies

Castro’s First Domestic Policies

  • Eliminate corruption and illiteracy

  • Project to drain a huge swamp for rice-growing and tourism

  • Low salaries were raised

  • Big estates (many owned by the U.S.) were broken up and converted into cooperatives

  • U.S. companies began to be nationalized

  • In the short term, all but the very rich found themselves better off

Castro s first domestic policies1

Castro’s First Domestic Policies

  • Equality for blacks

  • More rights for women

  • Every citizen was guaranteed employment

  • Social services were extended to all classes of society

  • Compulsory military service taught discipline and hard work

  • Temporarily allowed disaffected people to leave

Heading for the u s

Heading for the U.S.

  • Anti-Castro Cubans headed for the U.S., especially FL. Nearly 1 million arrived between 1960 and 2000

  • There many conducted a terrorist campaign against the Castro regime with the active support of the CIA

End of president urrutia

End of President Urrutia

  • The commander of the Air Force, Diaz Lanz, defected to the U.S. because of the growth of communism

  • President Urrutia denounced Lanz for his defection, but made a lengthy attack on communism.

  • Castro “resigned” from the government because he believed that Urrutia had shown no interest in promoting social improvement

  • However, a mass public meeting of ½ million on the 26th of July showed support for Castro to resume his post and caused Urrutia to resign

Consolidating power

Consolidating Power

  • Being anti-communist was the same as being counter-revolutionary

  • At Havana University, troublesome professors were expelled or neutralized

  • Trade unions were infiltrated by communists

  • Arrests of outspoken journalists caused hostile newspapers, television, and radio stations to conform or close down

  • Foreign priests were expelled, Cuban priests harassed and imprisoned, seminaries closed won, publications prohibited, and security men placed in churches

  • Security services placed bugs

Education policies

Education Policies

Castro s education policies

Castro’s Education Policies

  • In 1961, the government nationalized all private educational institutions and introduced a state-directed system

  • Education is free at all levels and controlled by the Cuban Ministry for Education

  • However, once a student reaches the 7th-12th grades, he is required to spend 30 days without pay each year working on the land

Castro s education policies1

Castro’s Education Policies

  • Schools emphasize hard work, self-discipline, and love of country

  • Students are required to work in agriculture three times a week

  • The system has been criticized for political indoctrinisation and for monitoring the political opinions of the students

Agricultural policies

Agricultural Policies

Building of agriculture

Building of Agriculture

  • Agriculture was collectivized

  • He wanted the sugar harvest to double over the next five years to reach 10 million tons by 1970; they reached 8.5 tons

  • Cuba completely depended on sales of sugar to obtain foreign currency.

  • Castro envisaged a massive modernisation of agriculture.

Security and economy

Security and Economy

Building of socialism

Building of Socialism

  • Social services

    • Education was made available to Cubans for free (even meals at school)

    • Health services were made available to Cubans for free

    • Housing was improved

    • Improvements were made in sanitation

Building of economy

Building of Economy

  • Economy

    • Failed to achieve significant growth

    • No cash to buy luxury goods

    • Failed to reduce its dependence on the country’s chief export, cane sugar

      • This was because:

        • Economic warfare was waged by the U.S. – allies were pressured to join the embargo

        • Economic decision making power was concentrated in a centralized bureaucracy headed by Castro



  • Corruption was severely reduced

  • In 1976, a new constitution was passed, which set up an elected Municipal Assembly, who in turn elected Provincial Assemblies, which then elected the National Assembly

  • The State Council advised Castro like the Cabinet would the President in the U.S.

  • Castro was the still the head of state and the National Assembly and State Council “rubber stamped” his decisions

  • The CDRs also made sure no one hostile to the revolution was elected; political parties banned

Why follow castro

Why Follow Castro?

  • Emphasis on the good

    • New schools, roads, hospitals

  • He never stopped talking and discussing

  • He used a type of “direct democracy” that made millions of Cubans feel involved and consulted in a way that had never happened under previous governments

  • Compared himself to Christ; cult of personality was built up

  • Common enemy and scapegoat was the U.S.

Embassy and mariel incidents

Embassy and Mariel Incidents

  • In 1980, the Peruvian Embassy’s gates were crashed by a bus full of people who wanted to defect, killing a Cuban soldier

  • After refusing to give up the people, Castro removed all the guards – more than 10,000 people crowded into the Embassy buildings

  • Also in 1980, Cuban authorities rounded up criminals and lunatics

  • They took them to the port of Mariel for shipment to Florida

  • Cuba eventually got rid of a total of 120,000 discontented or unwanted people

Castro s domestic policies part 1

One of the boats in the Mariel Boatlift

Peruvian Embassy in Cuba – 10,800 disaffected Cubans stormed it

Special period

“Special Period”

  • With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991:

    • The price for Cuban sugar declined

    • The price for Cuba’s main import – oil – rose

    • The Cuban economy went into a free fall

    • Bicycles replaced cars; oxen replaced tractors

    • Government officials were laid off

    • Construction projects stopped

    • Factories producing non-essential goods were closed

    • Electricity cuts began and lasted up to 16 hours a day

Special period1

“Special Period”

  • With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991:

    • People sold and bought on the black market

    • Prostitution became legal

    • Most people ate one meal a day

    • There was an epidemic of a disease causing blindness – caused by malnutrition

  • Bush extended the embargo and limited the number of Cubans gaining visas

Fixing the economy

Fixing the Economy

  • Small scale private enterprise was legalized

  • Farmers could sell products on open markets at prices fixed by themselves

  • “War of All the People” defense strategy called for guerilla warfare, so bunkers and tunnels were built

  • In 1994, when economic unrest led to anti-government demonstrations, restrictions were lifted on those wanting to leave the country

Fixing the economy1

Fixing the Economy

  • Cuba couldn’t make inroads in bio-technology because of many years of testing and giant multinationals

  • Oil companies wouldn’t sign contracts to explore for oil due to fear of the U.S. (BP feared CANF would sabotage its stations)

  • CANF (Cuban-American National Foundation), a powerful lobbying group, wouldn’t let any politician normalize relations with Cuba

Control of population

Control of Population

Castro s treatment of minorities

Castro’s Treatment of Minorities

  • Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) is a network of committees across Cuba

  • The organizations are designed to report "counter-revolutionary" activity

  • The CDR officials have the duty to know the activities of each person in their respective blocks

  • There is an individual file kept on each block resident, some of which reveal the internal dynamics of households

  • Citizens must be careful of their actions and of what they say, as they are being constantly monitored

Castro s treatment of minorities1

Castro’s Treatment of Minorities

  • The committees have often received negative international coverage, and been cited by human rights groups as being involved in activity described in Cuba as "acts of repudiation“

  • These acts include abuse, intimidation and sometimes physical assault against those deemed "counter-revolutionary"

Castro s treatment of minorities2

Castro’s Treatment of Minorities

  • Thousands of political opponents to the Castro regime have been killed, primarily during the first decade of his leadership; exact numbers are not known

  • Some Cubans labeled "counterrevolutionaries", "fascists", or "CIA operatives" have been imprisoned in extremely poor conditions without trial

Castro s treatment of minorities3

Castro’s Treatment of Minorities

  • Military Units to Aid Production, or UMAPs, were labor camps established in 1965 which confined "social deviants" including homosexuals and Jehovah Witnesses in order to work "counter-revolutionary" influences out of certain segments of the population

  • There were thousands of executions

  • The camps were closed in 1967 in response to international outcries

Castro s treatment of minorities4

Castro’s Treatment of Minorities

  • Fidel Castro portrays opposition to the Cuban government as illegal, and the result of an ongoing conspiracy fostered by Cuban exiles with ties to the United States or the CIA

  • Many Castro supporters say that Castro's measures are justified to prevent the fall of his government, whereas his opposition says he uses the United States as an excuse to justify his continuing political control

Religion and castro

Religion and Castro

Castro s treatment of religious groups

Castro’s Treatment of Religious Groups

  • Cuba was declared to be atheist

  • No religions were allowed to grow.

  • Cuban agents from the Ministry of the Interior watched and spied on those who have worshiped in churches and in their homes

Castro s treatment of religious groups1

Castro’s Treatment of Religious Groups

  • The Fidel Castro government presently still restricts religion by:

    • Blocking construction of new churches

    • Limits the arrival of foreign religious leaders

    • Refuses to recognize most new denominations

    • Import of religious articles is controlled and monitored

    • Many private churches and other houses of worship, including meetings in private places have been disbanded, boarded up and shut down

    • So called "unregistered religious groups" (not state recognized) experience regular harassment, and repression

    • Religious material is confiscated

Castro s treatment of religious groups2

Castro’s Treatment of Religious Groups

  • In 1992, Castro agreed to loosen restrictions on religion and even permitted church-going Catholics to join the Cuban Communist Party

  • He began describing his country as "secular" rather than “atheist”

  • Pope John Paul II visited Cuba in 1998, the first visit by a reigning pontiff to the island. Castro and the Pope appeared side by side in public on several occasions during the visit. Castro wore a dark blue business suit (in contrast to his fatigues) in his public meetings with the Pope and treated him with reverence and respect

Women in castro s cuba

Women in Castro’s Cuba

Role of women in castro s cuba

Role of Women in Castro’s Cuba

  • One of the most significant changes brought about by the Cuban Revolution has been to the lives and status of women

  • Before 1959, the role of most Cuban women resembled that of other women in most countries

  • Women enjoyed few rights and were expected to sacrifice their interests for the well-being of the family

Role of women in castro s cuba1

Role of Women in Castro’s Cuba

  • The Labor Code ensures equal rights and opportunities for women in all fields of work as well as an equal salary

  • Social security applies to men and women equally

  • Women have the right to an abortion

  • Equality of access is ensured in both education and health

Role of women in castro s cuba2

Role of Women in Castro’s Cuba

  • Much of the success in implementing the legislation relating to the rights of women has been achieved thanks to the work of the Federation of Cuban Women

  • Over 85% of Cuban women are members and it now has 73,710 branches throughout the country

Role of women in castro s cuba3

Role of Women in Castro’s Cuba

  • The Federation’s activities cover a wide number of areas:

    • Works collaboratively with the government, trade unions, mass media, international organizations, etc.

    • Mounts grass-roots level campaigns

    • Runs women’s training centers for awareness of their rights

    • Develop non-sexist attitudes among students in schools

    • Carry out research where there are still problems

The arts and propaganda

The Arts and Propaganda

Castro s cuba the arts

Castro’s Cuba – The Arts

  • After the Cuban revolution of 1959 Cuban artists became more isolated from the artistic movements of the United States and Europe

  • Though artists continued to produce work in Cuba, many pursued their careers in exile

  • Theaters, cinemas, concerts, art exhibitions, etc. were all censored

Castro s cuba media propaganda

Castro’s Cuba – Media & Propaganda

  • Citizens and press must be careful of their actions and of what they say, as they are being constantly monitored

  • Castro usually wears military uniforms and has made fiery speeches

Castro s cuba propaganda

Castro’s Cuba – Propaganda

  • Castro’s speeches lasted for several hours on end. In the early years, he seriously tries to inform the Cuban people, illustrating his arguments with facts and figures and speaking openly about problems

  • Much propaganda had to deal with the U.S. being stubborn or evil

  • Other propaganda emphasized the preeminence of Castro and the revolution

Castro s cuba propaganda1

Castro’s Cuba – Propaganda

  • However, his “cult of personality” has been less built up than other dictators (Hitler, Mussolini, Zedong, Stalin)

  • For example, you will find no statues, streets, schools, towns, or money with Castro’s name

Castro is looking for statues of himself

Castro s domestic policies part 1

World solidarity with Cuba

Castro s domestic policies part 1

No economic blockade of Cuba! Foreign exchange, petroleum, medicaments, imported and exported goods

Castro s domestic policies part 1

7th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

Castro s domestic policies part 1

Poster calling for Cubans to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the Moncada attack. The attack is seen as the starting point of the Cuban revolution, and is celebrated every year with a big meeting at the Square of the Revolution in Havana

Castro s domestic policies part 1

May Day. All with Fidel on the Square of the Revolution

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