Cuban Revolution: Definition, History & Summary
Cuban Revolution: Armed insurrection that occurred in Cuba, against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
What was the Cuban Revolution?
The Cuban Revolution was an armed insurrection, carried out by the Cuban left movement, under the command of Fidel Castro, which occurred between 1953 and 1959.
It fought against the Cuban government of Fulgencio Batista, who had served as president from 1940 to 1944 and then by force from 1952 to 1959.
The Batista government was characterized by corruption and the alliance with members of the Italian-American mafia, who controlled the gambling business and concessions to foreign companies, to install casinos and luxury hotels in Cuba. He also repressed workers’ strikes and popular protest movements due to unemployment and poverty.
Development of the Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution began on July 26, 1953, with the attempt of a group of one hundred thirty-five insurgents to take over a Cuban army installation, the Moncada Barracks, located in the city of Santiago de Cuba. Among them were the brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro, who received a 10-year prison sentence for participating in the uprising.
In 1955, Batista passed an amnesty law that released the Castro brothers. Immediately, Fidel founded the popular “26th of July Movement“, whose objective was to overthrow Batista.
In 1955, the Castro brothers settled in Mexico, where they began to organize a guerrilla group to invade Cuba. There they met the doctor and Argentine communist activist Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who soon joined the movement.
On November 25, 1956, a group of eighty-two July 26 rebels, led by Fidel Castro, set out from the Mexican port of Tuxpan aboard a yacht called Granma. After seven days of sailing, they landed on the eastern coast of the island, where they were ambushed by Batista’s army. Most of the group died in combat or were taken prisoner. The rest dispersed and found themselves in the Sierra Maestra.
Little by little, the insurgents managed to swell their forces with peasants from the surrounding rural areas and began to achieve small victories. When they succeeded in occupying the city of Santa Clara and taking over a train carrying ammunition to the regime’s troops, Batista, overwhelmed by those defeats, fled to the Dominican Republic.
During 1959, the insurgents entered the cities of Santiago de Cuba and Havana. The revolution had triumphed.
Causes and Consequences of the Cuban Revolution
Cause of the Revolution of Cuba
The causes of the Cuban Revolution were the following:
- The authoritarianism of the Batista government, who had reached the presidency through the use of force and remained in power through the repression of his opposition and demonstrations.
- During the Batista government, the poorest sectors of the population suffered from unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, while a privileged few monopolized the productive resources of Cuba, especially the tobacco and sugar plantations.
- The interference of the United States, which supported the Batista government and invested in the productive sectors and in businesses related to gambling and tourism.
Consequences of the Cuba Revolution
The consequences of the Cuban Revolution were the following:
- The insurgents established a revolutionary government headed by Fidel Castro. His first measures, especially an agrarian reform, the nationalization of lands and companies, provoked opposition from the United States. Due to this hostility, the Castro government declared itself socialist and aligned itself with the Soviet Union. In this way, the Cuban Revolution was inscribed within the so-called Cold War, in which the United States and the Soviet Union fought for world leadership.
- The United States government reinforced the commercial, economic and financial embargo (known as the blockade against Cuba) that it had decreed in 1960. The objective of this embargo was to prevent Cuba from buying or selling products and receiving foreign investment.
- The firm decision of the United States government to prevent revolutions similar to the Cuban one from breaking out in America led to the development of the National Security Doctrine. This doctrine, taught to the Latin American in US military academies, pointed out the importance of fighting internal enemies to prevent international communism from taking power. In this way, the seizure of power by the armed forces and the successive dictatorships that were installed in Latin America in the 1960s and 70s were legitimized.
- A government regime was established that managed to provide quality health and education to the entire population, but which was sustained by a very limited democracy, with the banning of political parties, imprisonment and repression of opponents.