The revolution in Cuba was not a result of economi
c deprivation, nor becauseof high expectations in the economy, it was the political factors andexpectations which evoked the civilians to revolt. The Cuban economy wasmoving forward at the time before the rebellion but the dominant influence ofthe sugar industry made the economy “assymetrical” and encouraged no “dynamic industrial sector”. Because of the dependance on sugar, the unemployment rate ranged between 16 and 20% rising and falling with sugar prices, ebbing and flowing as the season changed. The rural wage levels were incredibly unsteady and unpredictable; the standard of living was low. Dependance on the sugar industry did not retard the economy of Cuba, just the wages of its workers. It was the leaders of the nation who reaped profit from this dependance, and it was the leaders of the nation who insisted on keeping the nation the way it was. By the mid 1950’s, however, the middle class had expanded to 33% of the population. Democracy, as we know it, broke down: the large middle class did not assert democratic leadership, there was no social militancy in the working class ranks, and the people found order preferable to disarray. Batista could no longer legitimize his regime . Failure in the elections of 1954 showed the discontent of the people, and failure in communications with the United States illustrated its discontent. Finally, opposing forces confronted Batista’s power: there were street protests, confrontations with the police, assault, sabotage, and urban violence. This began the revolution in Cuba. America, with its stubborn ideas and misjudgements of character, forcedCastro to turn to the Soviets for alliance and aid. When Castro visited theUnited States in April, 1959, there were different respected individualsholding different views of him and his future actions. Nixon believed Castroto be naive, some others thought him a welcome change from Batista, stillothers called him an “immature but effective leader, without a well formed viewof how to lead a revolutionary movement and not overly concerned with abstractof philosophical matters” (p. 55). Why, then, did the United States impressnit-picky ideals like “there should not be communists in the Army or in labor”,or “Cuba’s approach to the Batista trials is totally unacceptable, too casual,too nonchalant” on this “forming” leader? Castro was like an inexperiencedmurderer with a gun in his hand: any rustle in the background could set offhis nervous trigger finger causing death, destruction, and liaisons with theU.S.S.R. When America expressed dislike of the trial procedures Castro washolding, of course he (Castro) would try to prove he was able to run hiscountry by himself and snub the U.S. ambassador. The United States had somuch invested in Cuba that it was stupid to think that Cuba could not retaliatewhen the U.S. cut off sugar imports. America was just too sure of itselfthinking it could get away with criticism and acts like that when an “immature”leader was in control. Cuba was not totally dependant on the United States andproved itself so. If Cuba could not find help and support in America, it sought elsewhere for those who smiled on its actions and ideals. Castro found friends in Russia; the United States made this so. Succeeding and failing have alot to do with judgement. For the UnitedStates, the revolution was a failure because the result was a communist nationin the Carribean. For the revolutionarie s in Cuba, the revolutionaccomplished many of their goals: capitalism was abolished and socialisminstalled eroding class distinctions and eliminating private property, theworking conditions improved, women’s rights improved, labor unions wererecogniz ed, the military became more modern and advanced, political order wasrestored, the status of the country improved from dependant to independant, andmany more. For the people of Cuba, therefore, the revolution can be viewed asa success (if communism ca n be seen as acceptable), but for America, theresult was a failure. Latin America is one of the poorest and underdeveloped sections of the world.Because of this fact, it is difficult for its nations to compete and thrive inthe world market with modern nations as they struggle to industrialize andimprove their status. Capitalism, as a basis for an economy, means that eachman has to struggle to make a living, that each man may fail and starve, andthat each man may get a lucky break and thrive. We saw this struggle of thelower classes clearly in Mexico during their industrialization. With communism, a man may not become of greater status than he is born with, but then again that status is no better than his neighbors; this man is, however, guaranteed a certain amount of land, for example, and a certain home and a certain salary. To the poor, those threatened by the extreme of starving, this idea is very appitizing. To a nation undergoing change, where there are many poor and these poor co uld get hurt by the industrialization, communism is appealing in every way. The United States has to learn that it is not in total control. We cannot goaround condemning countries which hold procedures different than our own. The developing count ries in Latin America must struggle through economically and politically hard times to reach their own maturity; this means experimentating with different styles of government to find out which is best for the specific country. If America wants democrac y to reign over the Carribean, Central, and South America, it should make the idea appealing, show these countries that it can work. America should support strong democratic leaders, encourage capitalistic moves they (the countries) make, and advise the nations when they need or ask for it. Mexico is an example where democracy worked, in Cuba, it didn’t. Force will get us nowhere in preventing the spread of communism, either will cutting off relations with countries who are still debating U. S. A. or U . S. S. R. America has too many interests in Latin America toforce it into alliance with the Soviets. If America is supportive and actslike a friend–not a dictator–these nations will develop naturally and seethat democracy is the best for them.