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What were Castro’s main policies and how successful were they? Politics James and Eric — Fidel Castro in Cuba, January 1959
What were Castro’s beliefs, what policies did he implement and were they successful? Are there different viewpoints from different historians? The Cuban revolution is not a class revolution, but a liberation movement that has overthrown a dictatorial, tyrannical government –Guevara, 1960
YouTubeVideo >40 seconds Initially… Until Castro, the U.S. was so overwhelmingly influential in Cuba that the American ambassador was the second most important man, sometimes even more important than the Cuban president." – Earl T. Smith, former American Ambassador to Cuba, during 1960 testimony to the U.S. Senate • Restore government and eliminate the old corrupt and abusive, illegitimate system • Initially promised democracy and freedom • ‘Elected’ by a supernatural authority or some ‘historical force’ Centralized control • Active engagement over Theoretical pursuits – all goals were set optimistically, met with maximum effort
Further Consolidation • Marxist-Leninism became a required subject in university • Well established radio and television to spread his revolutionary messages • 60’s - Redistribution to the poor • ‘Worms’ and ‘Imperialists’ • Ineffectiveness of Labour unions, the ANAP and FMC "...[communist] influence is nothing. I don't agree with communism. We are democracy. We are against all kinds of dictators... That is why we oppose communism." – Fidel Castro 25/5/59
Presidency and Positions • 1959 , Prime Minister Cuba • In 1965 First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba • In 1976, the office became abolished and he became President of the Council of State, Council of Ministers and Comandante en Jefe • Intestinal surgery , diverticulitis, Castro delegated his responsibilities to First Vice-President, Raúl Castro, on July 31, 2006. • On February 19, 2008, five days before his ruling mandate was to expire, he resigned. • On February 24, 2008, the National Assembly elected Raúl Castro to succeed him “Revolution first, elections later".- Fidel Castro “I'm really happy to reach 80. I never expected it, not least having a neighbor - the greatest power in the world - trying to kill me every day” - Castro
Attitudes over the years • Became Communist Party of Cuba in 1965 (PCC) Very hierarchical government • Establish a strong sense of nationalism • Mass organizations beginning in the 60’s • Illegalized strikes and protest • Encouraged free markets at one point • Intolerant to critics, gradual tolerance after the 70’s Armando Hart, a member of Castro's innermost ruling group, made the extremely significant observation that:“. . . it is certain that capitalism had attained high levels of organization, efficiency and production that declined after the Revolution”
Gradual Decentralization (>76) • Internal politics – eliminated potential threats, especially PSP members (Old Communist Party) • Assigned key politburo positions • New National Assembly with legislative powers formed in 1976 • Electoral Law and limited ability • The Committee for Defense of Revolution (CDR) begin community work, less politics Castro constructed a "repressive machinery" which "continues to deprive Cubans of their basic rights".[ - Sergio Diaz-Briquets and Jorge F. Pérez-López Servando
Some Internal Politics • The removal of Perez • Policies in the 70’s favored PSP members, Castro took their advice • Decreasing military influence in party (58% in 65 to 17% in 86), More ‘Civic Soldiers’ • *Note – there were no electrons from 59-76* Gradual freedom now
Issues of Equality/Freedom • 1970’s – Cases would be dismissed without sufficient evidence • Considerable freedom of expression by 1980 • Mass Media handled by the State(censored), 1960 • Homosexual hostility in 60’s and 80’s Castro constructed a "repressive machinery" which "continues to deprive Cubans of their basic rights". – Human Rights Watch “Libya has named the Cuban president, Fidel Castro, winner of the MoamarGadaffi Human Rights Prize -- in recognition of what it says is Mr. Castro's resistance to imperialism and defense of democratic values. “ - BBC News “homosexuals should not be allowed in positions where they are able to exert influence upon young people” – Fidel Castro
Acceptance to Criticism • Radical policies soon became unacceptable by the public • Local levels, encouraged to criticize specific problems • Free expression of Arts and Literary forms, although ‘self-censorship’ • 80’s – ANAP and FMC have increasing influence again, managers also had greater say in their workplaces
Miscellaneous Political Issues • Central Committee members aged and tend to be from the same generation, lack of renewal • Despite trends in the 70’s towards de-centralization, Cuba was still highly centralized, decision making lied within a few members in Havana • Policies influenced successful battles and overcoming illiteracy but social and economical breakdowns in 60’s • Aiding foreign countries for revolution “Cuban internationalists have done so much for African independence, freedom, and justice” – Nelson Mandela
http://www.cubaverdad.net/revolution.htm • Wikipedia • Cuba: a short history • Youtube