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  1. THE CUBAN REVOLUTION Political Science 4396 Dr. Arthur K. Smith Fall Semester 2006

  2. Cuba

  3. Central America and the Caribbean

  4. Prevailing Myths About the Cuban Revolution ● The Ernesto “Che” Guevara version: “That a handful of bearded rebels with a rural peasant base singlehandedly took on and defeated a standing army, thereby overthrowing the dictator and bringing the revolutionaries to power.” ● That 1959 represented a “watershed” year for the Cuban Revolution, a break with the past rather than the culmination of more than six decades of virtually continuous struggle. ● That Fidel Castro “had his hands in all of the major and minor decisions of the 26th of July Movement during the insurrection and was responsible for all of its failures and successes.”

  5. Questions to be considered: ● What are the historical antecedents of the Cuban Revolution? ● Did M-26-7 prevail in 1958 primarily through guerrilla warfare, or were other tactics equally crucial to victory? ● What has been the role of the United States in shaping Cuban political and economic history? ● What role will the U.S. play in the post-Fidel era? ● How best to understand the role of Fidel Castro as Cuba’s revolutionary leader? ● How best to understand the recent “temporary” transfer of power to Raul Castro? ● What role has been and will be played by the Cuban exile community? ● What is likely to happen after Fidel’s death?

  6. Cuba in the Early Spanish Colonial Era, 1492-1800 ● Structure of Spanish Colonial Administration ● Spain’s conquest of the New World ● Contrast with England’s colonization of North America ● Role of Cuba in Spain’s colonial economy ● Mercantilism • Dominant economic system from about the 16th through the 18th centuries • Rise of the nation-state in Europe • Fueled rise of imperialism ● From about 1531 to 1660, Spain extracted from its LA colonies some 181 tons of gold and 16,000 tons of silver (official figures) ● Effects on Spain’s politics and economy ● Inflation, undermined aristocracy, strengthened powers of monarchy, retarded growth of independent commercial class • Havana’s role in Spain’s mineral exploitation of Latin America

  7. Cuba in the Early Spanish Colonial Era, 1492-1800 (2) ● Peninsulares vs. Criollos in Spanish colonial America ● Decline of mining, rise of plantation economy ● Importation of African slaves ● Spain’s restrictive policies for Cuba from 16th through 19th centuries ● Occupation of Havana by the English in 1862 • The world context: England, France, Spain, and the United States at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century ● Industrial revolution in England, expansion of world trade ● American and French Revolutions, the Enlightenment ● Slave uprising in Sainte Domingue, Hispaniola (Haiti) ● Legitimacy crisis in Spain and Portugal • Napoleonic wars ● Three kinds of legitimacy ● Traditional ● Charismatic ● Rational-Legal

  8. Cuba in the Early Spanish Colonial Era, 1492-1800 (3) ● Insularity of Cuba from LA wars of independence (Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin) • Effects of these events on Cuba • Cuba became a refuge for displaced peninsulares and immigrants from Spain • Before proceeding with examination of Cuba in the 19th century, review Introductory Chapter in Julia Sweig’s Book ● “Prevailing myths” to be examined and evaluated: ● The Ernesto “Che” Guevara version: “That a handful of bearded rebels with a rural peasant base singlehandedly took on and defeated a standing army, thereby overthrowing the dictator and bringing the revolutionaries to power.” ● That 1959 represented a “watershed” year for the Cuban Revolution, a break with the past rather than the culmination of more than six decades of virtually continuous struggle. ● That Fidel Castro “had his hands in all of the major and minor decisions of the 26th of July Movement during the insurrection and was responsible for all of its failures and successes.”

  9. Cuba in the Late Spanish Colonial Era, 1800-1898 ● Cuba in the 19th Century: Rise of the Sugar Culture ● Great Power Politics: ● Pax Britannica ● U.S. “Manifest Destiny” ● The Monroe Doctrine ● Cuba’s attractiveness to the U.S. (refer to map) ● Offer to buy Cuba from Spain, the Ostend Manifesto ● Decline of Spain as an Imperial Power ● Emergence of the United States as a Great Power ● Influence of Alfred Thayer Mahan ● Social Darwinism ● The “First Rebellion” in Spain’s Cuba, 1868-1878 ● Grito de Yara (1868) ● Cuba Libre ● Jose Marti

  10. Cuba in the Late Spanish Colonial Era, 1800-1898 (2)

  11. Cuba in the Late Spanish Colonial Era, 1800-1903 (3) ● 1878 Settlement by Spain led to shaky peace ● Promised reforms, amnesty, emancipation of slaves (finally fulfilled in 1886) ● Growth of trade in sugar & tobacco with U.S. ● Trade agreement cancelled by Spain in 1894 ● Hurt sugar growers in Cuba, caused resentment in the U.S. ● Final war of independence, 1895-1898 ● Roles of Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo, Calixto Garcia ● General Valeriano “Butcher” Weyler ● Reconcentrados, free fire zones ● Forces provoking American intervention ● Economic, strategic, humanitarian ● The “Yellow Press” ● Sinking of the USS Maine (February 15, 1898)

  12. Cuba in the Late Spanish Colonial Era, 1800-1908 (4) ● Spanish-American War ● “Remember the Maine” ● War declared on April 11, 1898 ● The Teller Amendment ● Theodore Roosevelt, the “Rough Riders” ● The Treaty of Paris (December 10, 1898) ● Contrast between U.S. & Cuban historical perspectives on the war ● American Military Rule, 1898-1902 ● Conditions in Cuba were deplorable ● Benevolent reconstruction, Dr. Leonard Wood ● Debates in both Cuba & U.S. about future relationship: ● Annexation vs. Independence ● Elections of 1900 in the U.S. ● TR as war hero, Republican candidate for VP ● Assassination of McKinley, rise of TR ● Constitutional Assembly in Cuba (1900)

  13. Cuba in the Late Spanish Colonial Era, 1800-1903 (5) ● The Platt Amendment (Secretary of State Elihu Root) ● Limits on Cuban sovereignty, naval stations, U.S. right to intervene “for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty.” ● Adopted by U.S. Congress as rider to army appropriations act of 1901 ● Added to new Cuban constitution in June 1901 ● Election of 1st President of Cuba, Tomas Estrada Palma ● End of U.S. military rule (May 1902) ● Beginning of U.S. Protectorate (1902-1934) ● Estrada Palma’s first term, 1902-1906 ● Good start, trade treaty of 1903 with U.S. ● 20% reduction in tariff duties for Cuban sugar ● U.S. settles on only Guantanamo Bay as naval base ● Traditional Cuban corruption moderated

  14. Growth of the Sugar Culture and the U.S. Protectorate, 1902-1925 ● Framework for political analysis ● Power contenders ● Power capabilities ● Political currencies ● Three types of legitimacy ● Role of the military in Latin American countries ● Golpes de estado ● Rise of U.S. policy of “Gunboat Diplomacy” ● Diplomatic recognition of new governments ● De jure vs. de facto recognition ● Recognition used as a power tactic by U.S. governments ● Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine ● Panama Canal ● 1st Test of Platt Amendment in 1906 ● Estrada Palma’s “Moderates” vs. “Liberals” (Jose Miguel Gomez, Alfredo Zayas) ● TR sent William Howard Taft, then appointed Charles Magoon as governor to supplant the elected president ● New elections in 1909 brought Gomez to power

  15. Growth of the Sugar Culture and the U.S. Protectorate, 1902-1925 (2) ● Rise of venality after 1909, repeated U.S. interventions to maintain order ● Pattern of U.S. protectorate established ● President Mario Garcia Menocal (1913-1921) continued corruption ● Fraudulent reelection in 1917 (U.S. troops put down revolt by opposition) ● Cuba followed U.S. in declaring war on Germany in 1917 ● U.S. bought Cuban sugar during WWI, but prices collapsed after war ended ● The “Dance of the Millions” ● Economic collapse, all Cuban-owned banks failed ● Alfredo Zayas elected president in 1921 in midst of continuing economic turmoil ● Gen. Enoch Crowder sent by U.S. in “painless intervention” ● Economic recovery until 1923, when Crowder left ● Quick return to corruption ● Election of Gerardo Machado in 1925

  16. The Machado Years, 1925-1933 ● Promising beginning for Machado Government ● Diversified economy, public works, easy loans from New York banks ● Era of “Dollar Diplomacy” replaced “Gunboat Diplomacy” ● But Machado built his own corrupt political machine ● Reelected in 1928, but opposition grew ● University of Havana played major role in opposition ● ABC society of some 40,000 members ● Machado “porrista” thugs, reign of terror ● Public order deteriorated, but U.S. President Hoover resisted calls for intervention ● The Great Depression set in and deepened throughout most of the world ● New U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933) ● The “Good Neighbor” policy of FDR replaced “Dollar Diplomacy”

  17. The Machado Years, 1925-1933 (2) ● Sumner Welles sent by FDR as ambassador to Cuba to apply pressure on Machado ● ABC called a general strike in August 1933, Cuban army leaders demanded changes ● Machado took flight to Bahamas ● Provisional government brokered by Welles, but lasted only three weeks ● Overthrown by the “revolt of the sergeants” ● Tradition of military “golpes de estado” in LA ● Sergeant Fulgencio Batista deposed officer corps and seized power, promoted himself to colonel and army chief of staff ● Batista appointed Professor Ramon Grau San Martin as Provisional President ● Grau lasted only 4 months (U.S. withheld recognition) ● de facto vs. de jure recognition ● But Grau decreed end of Platt Amendment as law in Cuba

  18. The Revolt of the Sergeants and the Rise of Fulgencio Batista, 1933-1944 ● Platt Amendment then formally abrogated by U.S. (1934) ● Batista ruled Cuba from behind the scenes from 1934-1940 ● Succession of seven puppet presidents ● Notably Carlos Mendieta, Miguel Mariano Gomez, and Federico Laredo Bru ● Cuban economy shaky during 1930s ● Impact of worldwide depression ● General strike in 1935, but Batista’s army suppressed it ● Batista’s behind-the-scenes dictatorship characterized as “mild, suave, and sweet” ● Social reforms under Laredo Bru ● Women’s suffrage, sugar cooperatives, trade unionization (Confederation of Cuban Workers) ● U.S. presence lessened, but rising anti- Americanism among intellectuals ● Rise of Fascism in Europe, the “New Deal” in the U.S.; Spanish civil war

  19. The Constitution of 1940, WWII, and the Post-War Years, 1945-1952 ● Constituent Assembly elected in November 1939 ● Constitution of 1940 was a very progressive document ● Cross between presidential and parliamentary systems ● Prime minister responsible to president & congress ● No immediate reelection of president (4 year term) ● Civil liberties, worker’s rights, unions, agrarian reform, industrialization, Cubanization of the national economy ● Batista elected President in 1940, supported by his Democratic Socialist coalition and the PSP ● Opposed by Grau San Martin (Autenticos) ● Batista a strong, democratic, popular president from 1940-44 ● Cuba declared war on Axis Powers on Dec. 9, 1941 ● Recognized USSR in 1943 ● U.S. provided aid, plus U.S. purchased entire sugar crop at favorable prices ● Zafra averaging about 5 million tons annually

  20. The Constitution of 1940, WWII, and the Post-War Years, 1945-1952 (2) ● Batista was a masterful politician at this time ● Actually gave Cuba the best government it had ever had ● Public works projects, support of army, upper and middle classes, organized labor, Communists ● Role of COMINTERN in 1930’s and 1940’s ● PSP was strongly tied to Moscow and the USSR ● Cuban intellectuals still disaffected, but isolated ● But Batista took care to enrich himself (commissions, kick-backs) ● In 1944, he allowed free elections and turned over power to Grau San Martin and the Autenticos ● Batista went to live in Florida ● Grau’s government from 1944-48 was a big disappointment ● Set new records for graft and corruption ● Havana became a mecca for U.S. tourists, gambling, prostitution, narcotics, mafia

  21. The Constitution of 1940, WWII, and the Post-War Years, 1945-1952 (3) ● By 1947-48, Cuba seemed to be coming apart ● Students at University of Havana rioted, armed themselves ● Political assassinations were common ● Emergence of Fidel Castro ● Father Angel Castro, from Galicia (Gallego) b.Dec. 4, 1892, emigrated to Cuba in 1912 ● Worked for United Fruit Company, started own hacienda—10,000 acres in Oriente ● Married, but fell for housemaid Lina Ruz ● Six children with Lina Ruz;, Fidel b. Aug. 13, 1926 ● Rustic upbringing, athletic, sometimes violent, brawling; Catholic schools in Santiago and Havana ● To University of Havana in fall 1945 to study law

  22. The Constitution of 1940, WWII, and the Post-War Years, 1945-1952 (4) ● Elections of 1948 (Carlos Prio Socarras vs. Senator Eduardo Chibas & two other candidates) ● Autenticos vs. Ortodoxos ● Prio won a plurality of the votes ● Corruption became even worse, especially Prio himself ● But Cuban economy growing (sugar, Korean War, tourism) ● Buildup to national elections of 1952 ● Growing sentiment for Batista to return to power (elected to Senate) ● Chibas growing in popularity, but dramatic suicide on radio show ● Roberto Agramonte became Ortodoxo candidate, Batista likely to lose the election ● Cuartelazo of March 1952, Camp Columbia ● Prio Socarras deposed ● Elections cancelled

  23. Fulgencio Batista’s Second Coup, 1952 ● Batista’s return to power initially greeted with widespread relief ● U.S. recognized new government some two weeks later ● But old progressiveness quickly devolved into dictatorship ● Press muzzled, university closed, congress dissolved, military law declared ● Link with Meyer Lansky and the U.S. mafia, which invested in hotels, gambling, prostitution ● Role of frustrated intellectuals such as Fidel Castro ● Student factions, growing violence and government repression ● Broader context of dictatorships in Latin America ● The Bogatazo in Colombia (April 1948) and Fidel Castro ● Jorge Eliecer Gaitan assassinated, period of La Violencia, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (1953-57) ● Rafael Leonidas Trujillo (Dominican Republic, 1930-61) ● Cayo Confites expedition

  24. Fulgencio Batista’s Second Coup, 1952 (2) ● Marcos Perez Jimenez (Venezuela, 1948-58) ● Juan Domingo Peron in Argentina (1943-55) ● Manuel Odria in Peru (1948-56) and APRA ● Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay (1954-89) ● Anastasio Somoza Garcia in Nicaragua (1933-56) ● Getulio Vargas in Brazil (elected 1950-54, but former military dictator from 1930-45) ● But there were a few bright spots in L.A. for democratic reform ● Chile and Mexico changed governments regularly through elections ● The Bolivian Revolution of 1952 (Victor Paz Estenssoro and the MNR) ● Jose “Pepe” Figueres and the National Liberation Party (PLN) in Costa Rica ● Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala (1950-54) ● The “Caribbean Legion” ● Role of the Organization of American States (OAS) ● U.S. policy of “containment” of communism

  25. The Moncada Raid,July 26, 1953 ● Fidel Castro’s political ambitions as an Ortodoxo ● Frustrated by Batista’s coup ● Turned to violent overthrow of government as only remaining route to power ● Planning and Organization of the Moncada Raid ● Fidel’s budding “movement” of disaffected and marginalized Cubans ● “Fidelistas” grew to a movement of about 1,200 by June 1953 ● Raising money, gathering armaments ● Ideology? Communist? ● Charismatic legitimation, mantle of Marti ● Stance of PSP as Fidelista movement grew ● Focus on Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba ● Planned as early as February 1952 with Abel Arcos ● Hope was that dramatic and heroic feat would spark nationwide uprising ● Romantic, “Morir por la Patria es Vivir” ● 165 men and two women, Batistiano uniforms ● But everything went wrong from the start, army troops rallied

  26. The Moncada Raid,July 26, 1953 (2) ● Fidel gave order to retreat, escaped with about 18 others to Sierra Maestra ● Those captured were tortured and most were executed ● Moncada raid was a military failure but a political success ● Brutality of Batista regime was crystalized for nation to see ● Fidel catapulted into leadership role on grander scale ● As dust settled, Fidel and Raul gave themselves up ● Brought to trial in September 1953 (some 24 conspirators in all) ● Fidel defended himself, cross-examined accusers ● Lengthy summation included his justification for the Moncada attack and his political agenda ● Manifesto called for restoration of the Constitution of 1940 ● Ownership of land by tenants, sharecroppers, and squatters ● Right of workers to share of profits of business enterprises, including sugar mills and plantations

  27. The Moncada Raid,July 26, 1953 (3) ● Confiscation of property that had been secured through graft and fraud ● Castigated foreign ownership of land (esp. United Fruit Company) ● Rejected absolute freedom of enterprise, guarantees for investment capital, law of supply and demand ● Castro’s speech held out a bright and shining vision of the future ● “History will absolve me”

  28. Castro’s Imprisonment, Exile in Mexico, and Return to Cuba, 1953-1956 ● Fidel sentenced to 15 years, Raul to 13, 20 others given 10 years ● Boniato Prison on the Isle of Pines ● While in prison, Fidel continued to work on his Manifesto ● More radical than Ortodoxos, but far short of Communist ● Fairly well treated as a political prisoner, allowed to communicate with wife Mirta and lover Naty Revuelta and to maintain unity among his imprisoned followers ● Meanwhile, Batista increasingly confident, held elections in 1954 ● Batista himself the only legal candidate ● Even allowed release of Fidel and his Moncada raid comrades from prison in May 1955 as part of deal with Ortodoxo Party ● Fidel dallied briefly in Havana, then left for voluntary exile in Mexico City ● Mexico in the 1950s under President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines and the PRI

  29. Castro’s Imprisonment, Exile in Mexico, and Return to Cuba, 1953-1956 (2) ● Immediately focused on organizing M-26-7 ● Forged linkages with important Cuban exiles, including Carlos Prio Socarras ● But already jockeying for leadership of anti-Batista forces ● Already focused on landing in Oriente in tradition of Marti ● M-26-7 in Mexico City quickly grew to about 70 followers ● Rigorous paramilitary training, organization into cells ● Met Che Guevara in July 1955 ● Fidel and Che complemented each other as revolutionaries ● Raul Castro, Alberto Bayo (veteran of Spanish civil war), and Frank Pais completed core group of leaders ● Pais least well known, but perhaps most important after Fidel ● His ANR (Accion Nacional Revolucionaria) became the in-Cuba wing of M-26-7 ● Role was to mount diversionary uprising in Santiago during planned landing in Oriente

  30. Castro’s Imprisonment, Exile in Mexico, and Return to Cuba, 1953-1956 (3) ● By fall 1955, Fidel was actively raising money for M-26-7 ● Visits to Cuban exiles in New York, Tampa, New Jersey ● There was in April 1956 an abortive military coup against Batista ● Easily put down, but effect was to eliminate from Batista’s army its most professionalized officers (mostly trained in U.S.) ● Followers of Prio Socarras assaulted army barracks in Matanzas ● Fidel watched from afar, pleased at these failures ● In July 1956 Fidel met with Jose Antonio Echeverria, leader of anti-Batista group Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE) ● Formed in 1955, middle- and upper-middle-class youths ● Idealistic, pro-democracy, but supported violent overthrow of Batista ● Fidel met with Prio Socarras in McAllen, Texas, and won financial support

  31. Castro’s Imprisonment, Exile in Mexico, and Return to Cuba, 1953-1956 (4) ● Events in Fidel’s personal life ● Ex-wife Mirta Diaz-Balart remarried ● Fidel concerned about his son “Fidelito,” then six years old ● Naty Revuelta bore him a daughter in March 1956 ● Affairs with various other women ● Death of Fidel’s father, Angel, in October 1956 ● Purchase of the Granma, aged 38-foot yacht in Tuxpan, Mexico, in early November ● M-26-7 group filtered in to Tuxpan, about 88 in all ● Granma set out for Cuba on November 25, dangerously overloaded ● Stormy passage to Oriente, rampant seasickness, voyage delayed ● Batista was aware of M-26-7 plans ● On November 30, Fidel learned of failure of Frank Pais’s diversionary attack in Santiago ● Landing on December 2

  32. Castro’s Imprisonment, Exile in Mexico, and Return to Cuba, 1953-1956 (5) ● On December 5, after having moved inland some 22 miles, the M-26-7 landing party was ambushed by Cuban army ● Most were killed, about 12 survivors scattered, including Fidel’s top leadership (Che was slightly wounded) ● Survivors reunited after about 11 grueling days in the rugged Sierra Maestra ● Now the real guerrilla struggle began ● Early raid on army outpost at La Plata was successful ● Word quietly and slowly got out to Fidelistas, and the band of guerrillas started to grow ● Strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare ● Unconventional, asymmetrical ● Numerous successful examples known at that time, among them: ● China (Mao Tse-tung, mid-1940s)

  33. Castro’s Imprisonment, Exile in Mexico, and Return to Cuba, 1953-1956 (6) ● Yugoslavia (Josip Broz Tito in early 1940s) ● Viet Nam (General Vo Nguyen Giap, early 1950s) ● Mexico (Emiliano Zapata, mid 1910s)) ● Nicaragua (Augusto Cesar Sandino, late 1920s)) ● Cuba’s own war of independence against Spain (1895-98) ● Political vs. military victory ● Measures of success are different ● “Hit and run” tactics ● Avoidance of set-piece battles against conventional forces ● Common setting: Rural vs. urban ● Support of peasants (or campesinos) is crucial ● Roles of propaganda and terrorism ● Purpose: To de-legitimize regime and create conditions for its fall

  34. Castro’s Imprisonment, Exile in Mexico, and Return to Cuba, 1953-1956 (7) ● Question: Was Cuba a modern, transitional, or underdeveloped country in 1957-58? ● Metaphor of growth: ● Heuristic ● But possibly teleological or deterministic ● Example: Karl Marx’s economic determinism

  35. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 ● What was Cuba like in early 1957? ● Dimensions of political (as contrasted with economic) modernization ● Secularization ● More than simply independence of the political from religious— how people conceive their role in the process of change ● Integration ● Individuals owe primary allegiance to nation, rather than religion, tribe, or region ● Social Mobilization ● Individuals and groups actively seek ways to resolve problems ● Participation ● People conceive of political action ● Institutionalization ● Activity channeled through political institutions and accepted rules

  36. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (2) ● Dimensions of economic modernization ● Industrialization, urbanization, education ● Concept of economic and political dependency (“Dependency Theory”) ● Means of production (land, labor, capital, technology) ● Primary vs. secondary products ● Doctrine of comparative advantage in international trade ● Efficiency lies in specialization ● But specialization in primary products means specialization in land and labor rather than in capital and technology ● Rostow’s “Revolution of Rising Expectations” ● Cuba in the 1950’s not as backward or as underdeveloped as has been often portrayed, especially in comparison to the rest of Latin America ● By 1953 census, about 60 percent of labor force in nonagricultural occupations

  37. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (3) ● Third in LA in average daily consumption of food (after Argentina and Uruguay) ● Ranked near top in LA in number of radios and television sets ● Foreign ownership of sugar mills was in steady decline, from 66 in 1939 to only 36 in 1958 ● By contrast, Cuban-owned sugar mills increased from 56 to 121 in the same period ● Cuban-owned percentage of total sugar production had increased from 22% to 62% ● By 1958, Cuba’s per capita income was among the highest in LA ● Comparable worldwide to Italy, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania ● Cuban workers in cities enjoyed relatively good pay and benefits ● But agricultural workers were worse off, underemployed and seasonally unemployed because of sugar culture ● Cuba was fairly highly urbanized, with nearly 60% living in cities ● Status of education was inadequate but improving ● Literacy rate of about 78% in 1953, ranking Cuba 4th in Latin America

  38. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (4) ● In social structure, Cuba marked by steady growth of middle class (professional, semi-professional, managerial, and proprietary groups) ● In relation to total population, Cuba’s middle class among strongest in L.A. ● On average, then, Cuba generally ranked quite high among L.A. countries ● But average rankings concealed wide disparities and inequalities ● In summary, the picture of Cuba in late 1950s as a backward, poverty-ridden land was not completely accurate, especially in relation to L.A. ● But relative to U.S. and Western Europe, Cuba was clearly underdeveloped ● In per capita income, Cuba ranked far below Mississippi, the poorest state ● And below all Western European nations except Portugal ● Wealth and land ownership concentrated in the hands of the few ● And Cuba had its share of major problems ● Economy sluggish, growth in GNP was slow

  39. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (5) ● Overreliance on sugar (75-80% of Cuba’s exports) ● U.S. citizens owned or controlled many public utilities, much of the banking system, and about 36 percent of sugar industry (albeit U.S. share was in steady decline) ● Cuba’s trade overwhelmingly was with U.S. (about 60%) ● But while the perception was much higher, U.S. financial interests controlled only six percent of the gross Cuban GNP ● Cubans had a love-hate relationship with the U.S. ● Despised U.S. materialism, its pragmatism, and its historic influence in Cuban affairs ● Many Cubans ashamed of what Havana had become by 1950s ● But Cubans also desirous of sharing in the profits that U.S. investments and tourists brought ● And copying American ways and customs (e.g., slang words, baseball, even racial prejudice) ● Cubans so prosperous that Cuban tourists spent more in the U.S. than U.S. tourists spent in Cuba ● U.S. support of Batista dictatorship was not set in concrete

  40. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (6) ● My point: The Cuban Revolution was born not so much out of grinding poverty, racial inequalities, economic underdevelopment, or U.S. imperialism ● As out of the fact that development of a more modern Cuba was not proceeding fast enough to satisfy people’s rising expectations, especially among middle class ● Cuba was a “transitional” nation that had “taken off” toward modernization ● Dimensions of political modernization: Uneven progress ● Secularization ● Integration ● Social Mobilization ● Participation ● Institutionalization ● Tensions in society exacerbated by a tradition of aggressive nationalism with a strong anti-Yanqui twist ● A particularly violent revolutionary tradition ● Influence of Cold War conflicts elsewhere in the world

  41. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (7) ● Why is it important to understand this? ● The “Myth” of the Cuban Revolution promulgated by Castro, Guevara, and others (e.g., C. Wright Mills, Jean Paul Sartre, Leo Huberman, Regis Debray, Paul Sweezy, to mention a few) ● Cuba was widely portrayed as an island inhabited by a largely rural population living in misery and filth, illiteracy, and exploitation ● Whose conditions of life were so abysmal that the country simply exploded under the leadership of Fidel Castro to create a new social order through revolution ● The facts belie much of the myth, and the truth is much more complicated ● But while the period from 1953-1958 was prosperous, Batista’s dictatorship was becoming progressively more tyrannical and brutal

  42. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (8) ● Never had Cubans been richer—at least, those who held office, who were granted concessions, who owned land and good businesses ● And among the richest was ex-sergeant Fulgencio Batista ● Under Batista, Cuba had virtually everything—except liberty ● The opportunity to participate in politics was closed to all but the few batistianos ● Meanwhile, back in the Sierra Maestra, the fidelistas were working at guerrilla warfare ● Basic strategy (January 1957-February 1958) was to attack army posts, withdraw immediately, then prepare ambush for the pursuing army troops ● The M-26-7 rebel band grew slowly, with most new recruits coming not from guajiros but rather from among young urban students and intellectuals ● Mostly from Santiago and recruited by Frank Pais ● Pais had been arrested and jailed after the abortive uprising scheduled to coincide with the Granma landing, then was acquitted (May 1957) ● Very few guajiros recruited to fight, but support of the guajiros was cultivated with land reform and as source of food and supplies

  43. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (9) ● Turning point came when Frank Pais sent Herbert Matthews to Castro in the mountains in February 1957 ● Veteran New York Times war correspondent ● Fortuitous, Matthews “the right man at exactly the right time” ● Matthews’ three stories in New York Times revealed that Fidel was not only alive but was actively engaging Batista’s army ● Fidel adept at “guerrilla theatre” during Matthews’ visit ● Romantic portrayal by Matthews caused a sensation in U.S., but also in Cuba ● Batista scoffed at fidelista threat, and PSP publicly denounced Castro ● M-26-7 leaders agreed to complement Sierra activities with urban underground ● Frank Pais played the role of coordinator ● More than Fidel, Pais was the actual architect of organization and national strategy for M-26-7 ● Sierra and Llano tactics worked in concert ● Activities in the Sierra were dependent on Llano for virtually everything

  44. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (10) ● M-26-7 resisted alliances with other leading anti-Batista groups ● M-26-7 portrayed as something new and independent ● Again, the goal of strategy during this period: Nationwide general strike, supported by armed struggle in both the Sierra and the Llano ● Cells were organized in all six provinces, but Pais was headquartered in Santiago ● Llano employed a strategy of sabotage through urban guerrilla warfare to prepare the way for the planned general strike ● M-26-7’s relationship with the PSP (i.e., the Communists) was delicate ● Many M-26-7 members were anti-Communist, “democratic left” ● PSP had been closely linked to Batista since 1930s ● But if the objective was to be a general strike, PSP cooperation was vitally needed ● PSP exercised much control over labor unions in CTC ● M-26-7’s relationships with the Autenticos (OA, still led by Prio Socarras) and the Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE) were even more difficult ● But on March 13, 1957, both of these rival groups staged an assault on Batista’s palace in Havana

  45. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (11) ● More than 40 killed, including Jose Antonio Echeverria, the leader of the DRE ● Thus a major potential rival to Fidel was removed ● M-26-7 profited from this in various ways, including weapons ● Government crackdown after the assault on Batista’s palace Repression of dissidents damaged both OA and DRE ● At the same time, another organization, called the Joint Civic Institutions (CIC), was rallying many professional groups in opposition to Batista and to the elections he planned for 1958 ● Appearance of the Manifesto of the Sierra Maestra ● Published in Bohemia magazine on July 28, 1957 ● Fidel was the primary author, but Frank Pais was influential in striking a moderate rather then radical tone ● Building tactical coalition with Raul Chibas, Felipe Pazos, Roberto Agramonte, Justo Carrillo (Ortodoxos-Historicos) ● Key element of the Manifesto at this time: M-26-7 granted power to the CIC to name a provisional government

  46. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (12) ● Rejected elections as a solution until Batista overthrown ● But the Manifesto set free elections and constitutional goverment as central post-Batista goals ● Elections were to be held within one year after Batista’s defeat ● Called for formation of the Civic Revolutionary Front to bring about Batista’s downfall ● Manifesto set forth a post-overthrow program of reforms that closely reflected longstanding platform of Ortodoxo party ● Manifesto was effective in discrediting the elections planned for 1958 as a competing strategy for ending Batista’s rule ● Roles of women such as Celia Sanchez, Vilma Espin, Haydee Santamaria ● Celia was Fidel’s lover and a key organizer/strategist ● Vilma (later to become Raul’s wife) was a staunch communist and key plotter against Pais as Fidel’s rival for power within M-26-7 ● Pais (only 23 years old) was betrayed from within M-26-7 and assassinated by Batista’s police in Santiago (late July 1957) ● Spontaneous and widespread mourning, work stoppages in Oriente ● Government overreacted with repression

  47. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (13) ● Pais’s death cleared way for Fidel to assert not only his undisputed leadership of M-26-7 ● But also the supremacy of the Sierra strategy over that of the Llano ● The August 5 general strike was organized by ND leaders ● Abortive, not supported by PSP ● September 5 naval mutiny in Cienfuegos, easily suppressed by Batista’s army ● Effect was elimination of most M-26-7 allies within military ● During fall 1957, M-26-7 sowed terror across Cuba by burning cane fields ● Meanwhile, the remains of the DRE opened up a guerrilla front of its own in Escambray mountains in central Cuba, with some 800 members ● Poorly coordinated, eventually not very effective ● And Raul Castro opened up a second front in Oriente in March 1958 ● Very effective militarily, carried out some 247 actions against Cuban army through the end of December ● Raul also resorted to political kidnappings as terror tactic ● Including busload of 47 U.S. sailors returning to base at Guantanamo

  48. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (14) ● U.S. support of Batista was now becoming ambivalent ● U.S. imposed an arms embargo in March 1958 ● State Department concluded that Batista must go ● Attracted by the transitionist plan outlined in the Sierra Manifesto ● “Pact of Miami” and the “Cuban Liberation Junta” ● The PSP also decided to hedge its bets, sending younger members to join M-26-7 in guerrilla warfare ● PSP leader Carlos Rafael Rodriguez traveled to Sierra in May/June and remained there with Fidel ● M-26-7 llano leaders called for a nationwide general strike on April 9, 1958 ● Strike failed, even though it nominally had Fidel’s support ● In May 1958, Batista ordered a major offensive, sent 10,000 troops to Oriente with air force bombers ● Army suffered some tactical defeats, some defections among its troops ● U.S. pressure forced Batista to stop use of bombing ● In effect, the U.S. government was abandoning Batista to his fate

  49. The 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra and in the Llano, 1956-1958 (15) ● On August 7, Cuban army began a disorderly retreat, marking beginning of final stage of the insurrection ● Guerrillas of M-26-7 now about 800 in number, and had been reorganized into four “columns” ● First and second columns, commanded respectively by Fidel and Raul, stayed where they had been in the Sierra ● Third, commanded by Che Guevara, went to the Escambray mountains in Las Villas province ● Fourth, led by Camilo Cienfuegos, sent to Pinar del Rio, at the western tip of Cuba (but never arrived, and actually fell in with Che) ● Oriente province was now virtually completely under rebel control ● And forces under Che and Camilo Cienfuegos threatened to cut the island in two in Las Villas province ● As fall 1958 progressed, the Cuban army melted away from desertions ● By December 1958, both the U.S. government and Batista’s army leaders realized that Batista had to go ● On December 31, city of Santa Clara (Las Villas) fell to Che and Camilo ● And Fidel’s column was laying siege to Santiago ● That same night, Batista fled the island ● Victory for Fidel and the M-26-7 was at last at hand

  50. The Revolution Takes Power, January 1959-December 1960, Part I ● Why did Castro win? ● Five basic reasons 1. Military action 2. The revolutionary potential of the island 3. Programmatic content of the Sierra Manifesto (promise of liberal democracy) 4. Castro’s personal characteristics and his effective elimination of potential rivals for power outside M-26-7 5. Lack of support for Batista across spectrum of power contenders ● Fidel began an unhurried victory march from Santiago to Havana ● Che and Camilo had already moved forces into Havana on January 1 ● Occupied La Cabana Fortress and Camp Columbia ● Mobs roamed Havana, trashing hotels and casinos ● On January 8, Fidel rode in on a tank to a hero’s welcome before a crowd of more than a million wildly cheering Cubans