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Assess the Impact of the Cuban Revolution on Cuban Society

Autor:   •  March 1, 2016  •  Case Study  •  1,953 Words (8 Pages)  •  818 Views

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Assess the impact of the Cuban revolution on Cuban society.

The Cuban revolution was a violent political overthrow of the dictatorial Cuban government in 1959. Around the time of the revolution, Cuban people suffered a great degree of poverty, poor literacy rates and substandard health care and living conditions. The revolution has had both positive and negative consequences on Cuban society with the immediate impact of the revolution being more negative with a great decrease in skilled labour, but before any length of time, it is impossible to argue that Cuban society was detrimentally impacted by the revolution. With the revolution greatly impacting Cuba even in the 21st Century, it becomes apparent that a number of historical events have clearly influenced society on the island even today.

The immediate impact of the revolution in 1959 arguably impacted Cuba in a more negative way. With Fidel Castro newly appointed as Cuba’s President, approximately 20,000 out of the island’s 85,000 skilled labourers including half the island’s teachers and doctors, emigrated from Cuba. Facing this severe decline in labour, the central planning of Castro’s government was unsubstantial and Cuba’s economy was falling. While Castro took steps to encourage national equality, he also postponed elections indefinitely taking away a basic democratic right and evading his earlier promises and he abolished all oppositional political parties. Castro took measures to ensure another revolution within Cuba could not begin, by nationalising media in order to control the opinion of the masses and by declaring strikes illegal. Castro also ensured that key positions in the Cuban army and police force were filled with his supporters, so ensuring a military coup could not take place to oust him, yet severely affecting the rights of the Cuban people to self-determine their leadership. Cuban society in the early years after the revolution was filled with uncertainty. While the new government put in place many regimes for the “good of all”, Cuba was also plagued by numerous executions and torturing of anyone suspected of being in league with Batista. Approximately 550 executions took place. In effect, Castro had become another dictator. The result of the Revolution, immediately hindered the growth of Cuban society until a number of regimes were put into place which re-established the island’s economic and social stability.

The new Cuban government remedied national issues by implementing socialist principles. Prior to the revolution, Cuba’s economy had relied almost fully on US support, and United States businesses had owned 90% of all Cuban mines, 80% of public services, 40% of the sugar industry, 50% of the railways and the entire Cuban oil industry. In post-revolutionary Cuba, all American investments were dismissed and a process of nationalising all businesses and industry so that ultimate ownership of all businesses belonged to the state. By law, rent rates were reduced and the average pay rate was increased. Castro also placed great emphasis on education and health with higher standards of living and the death rate reduced and in ten years, enrolment numbers in schools rose from 6000 to 30,000. University enrolments doubled and illiteracy was reduced from 25% in 1958 to 4% in 1970. Toward the end of the 1970s Cuban society had the highest living standards of Latin America; the testimony of the violent yet affective use of socialist ideals in society. It was these measures which acted to bring Cuba out of possible economic collapse and stabilise society in an effective manner, which continues to implemented on the island today.

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