U.S. IN CUBA: BETWEEN THE TOTAL CONTROL OF THE ECONOMY AND THE BLOCKADE

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Since its independence from Spain, Cuba’s political life had been influenced by the relationship with United States. Until 1933, the Cuban constitution there was a clause, known as the “Platt Amendment” that allowed U.S. intervention in Cuba, “to protect life, liberty and property ‘of U.S. citizens residing in Cuba .

By 1952, U.S. companies controlled 47.4% of sugar production, 90% of the production of electricity and telephone networks, 70% of oil refineries, 100% of the production of nickel and 25% of the commercial houses, hotels and the food industry. Since the revolution, Cuba was harassed by United States. In 1960, the U.S. government stopped buying sugar. This led to a rapprochement with the USSR Cubans, who pledged to buy half a million tonnes of sugar for four years. United States then decided not to send more oil to Cuba, which began to provide the USSR 

American companies on the island refused to work and the government responded by expropriating and nationalizing the oil companies that source, then the electricity and telephone companies. 

The Cuban economy and the dictatorship of Batista 

Cuba’s economy depended on exports of sugar, whose production and marketing was controlled by foreign companies. Eleven companies controlled almost 1,200,000 hectares, representing 47.4% of the land used to grow sugar cane.

As in other Latin American countries, there were also large estates. A census of 1945, 4 thousand people owned more than half the territory. 

Since 1944, for the first time most people could participate in elections. However, elected governments continue under the influence of United States. 

In the early years of the 1950s increased the charges of corruption and, before the demonstrations of protest, a sector of the army supported by U.S. companies and Cuban businessmen, was a coup. The new dictator Fulgencio Batista was. 

The dictatorship was sustained only by a violent repression. Soon, the resistance began to join their claims in the fight against injustices and inequalities of social order with the concerns of economic independence and autonomy and, therefore, contrary to United States interference in the country and the region. 

At the university hung black flags as a sign of mourning the “death of democracy” and the first organizations were formed in opposition. The students demanded the return to democratic forms of government, and advocating for this, available as a method of struggle, including violence, accompanying the massive protests of the oblation. 

The start of the guerrilla actions 
As part of the rebels on July 26, 1953, one hundred young people belonging to the middle and working-class, gold ¡¡by Fidel Castro, attempted to take the Moncada barracks, the second military base! Country. This action seeking to begin a process leading to the overthrow of dictator!. The assault failed, but led to revolutionary group to appeal to the insurgency and join! “People” of Cuba: rural and industrial workers, small farmers, teachers, merchants, professionals, unemployed, in short, all sectors excluding the society. 

In 1956, members of ¡-July 26 Movement named after the revolutionary event! Moncada-organized expedition from Mexico to enter illegally into Cuba. Aboard a small boat called “Gramma,” landed on the beaches of the island and settled in Sierra Maestra, where they created a guerrilla outbreak. Eventually the original group eventually became the “rebel army”. 

The guerrillas released a manifesto in which he expressed the need for all the Cuban opposition organizations to join and form a revolutionary front. This was to appoint a provisional government that would require the resignation of dictator ¡convene immediately and to free elections. 

The rebel army and began to leave their isolation and find new members. Joined by large contingents of young people who were led by leaders like Camilo Cienfuegos and Argentine Ernesto “Che” Guevara. 

During the first months of 1958, the guerrillas had attempted unsuccessfully to organize a general strike. After this failure, they decided to continue strengthening the rural guerrillas to resist the army’s offensive ¡Batista and then invade the plains, making the central provinces, and finally to overthrow the dictatorship. 

In a few months and were gaining these objectives, supported by large segments of the population, in January 1959 took over Havana, the capital of Cuba. Antidictatorial the fight for the return to democratic forms of government, soon became a true social revolution. 

Once in power, adopted a set of measures that changed the root of social order in Cuba. The military dictatorship was replaced by the “rebel army”, the charges were made by government leaders and revolutionaries, from there, began the task of transforming Cuban society. 

The revolutionary changes 
To modify the enormous economic inequalities that characterized Cuban society, the revolutionary government began to implement agrarian reform. The first law of 1959 stipulated that all land would be expropriated in excess of 400 hectares, of which respect the ownership of small and medium producers. However, another law in 1963 decided to expropriate all parcels larger than 63 hectares. Most of the lands were distributed among the peasants who lacked them and the rest became part of the state farms, which offered work to the unemployed in rural areas.

Despite having embarked on a policy industrialized failures led to the revolutionary government to enhance the production of primary goods, mainly nickel and sugar. 

The economic policy pursued by the revolutionary government affected, from the outset, the United States interests in Cuba. 

In 1961 Cuba severed relations with Washington and proclaimed the socialist nature of his government and tightened its ties with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the other socialist countries. Faced with this decision, United States pressured the other countries of Latin America and managed to expel Cuba from the Organization of American States broke relations with his government. Cuba was able to maintain relations with Mexico. 

Changes in the economy were accompanied by reforms in other areas, seeking to transform Cuban society. In this regard, the government established two priority areas: education and health. Began mass literacy campaigns, new schools and universities, significantly increasing the number of pupils and teachers. 

In health, a health care network was implemented to ensure a free assistance to all people, new hospitals and clinics, as well as medical research institutes. 

A new law reduced its rental value by 50%. In addition, long-term loans granted to tenants to buy their homes. Was set free of all services (water, electricity, gas, telephones, etc.). And a ration of food and clothing for each of the Cubans. It also tried to reduce wage differentials between workers. 

Taking all these measures, which eliminate the capitalist system in Cuba, its good diplomatic and trade relations with other socialist countries and the support given to the social struggles in various sites! Planet, led to the United States sought by all means to isolate Cuba from other Latin American countries and stifle an economic blockade by sea and affecting the Cuban people for decades. 

EL GOBIERNO DE CASTRO: THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMUNISM 

The Castro regime soon showed his leftist. Land reform was enacted in the early years mainly affected U.S. interests in the sugar industry; Castro banned the establishment of plantations companies controlled by shareholders and not Cuban declined to support the production of sugar for other food crops. 

BURST WITH UNITED STATES 

In 1960 the Cuban government nationalized all American companies on the island, to which Washington responded by imposing a trade embargo. In January of 1961 broke all diplomatic relations between both countries and the April 17 1300 anti exiles, supported and trained by United States, conducted in southern Cuba for the Bay of Pigs landing. 

In autumn 1962 the relations between the two countries became even more tense, when United States found that Cuba had installed missiles in its territory of Soviet origin. U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced the naval blockade of the island to prevent the arrival of more boats with Soviet weapons. After several days of negotiations during which nuclear war seemed imminent, the Soviet president Nikita S. Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the October 28 and eliminate the missile bases in exchange for the promise of President Kennedy not to invade the island. During the 1960s relations with United States remained hostile, and in 1962 Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS) due to pressure the U.S. government acted against the Castro regime. In 1965, through the Embassy of Switzerland in Cuba, the governments of both countries agreed to allow Cubans to emigrate to the United States more than 260,000 left the country before the airlift would be officially terminated in April 1973. 

Isolation period 

Many of the political action away from Castro to Cuba of some Latin American countries, although they were applauded by many people of the continent. After being expelled from the OAS, the Castro government was accused of trying to promote the revolution in Venezuela, Guatemala and Bolivia, where Che Guevara, who led a guerrilla group, was captured and killed in 1967. Meanwhile, Cuba continued to depend on financial support from the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc countries. In 1972 he signed several pacts with the USSR that guaranteed financial assistance Soviet trade development between both countries and the extension of the Cuban debt payments, while Cuba became a member of COMECON, Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. 

The First Congress of the Cuban Communist Party held in late 1975 and a year later it adopted a new Constitution, which increased the number of provinces from 6 to 14 and created the National Assembly, which held its first meeting in December 1976 and Fidel Castro elected as head of state and government. 

END OF ISOLATION 

In the mid-1970s Cuba emerged from diplomatic isolation. In July 1975, during a meeting in the Costa Rican capital of San José, the OAS adopted a resolution on freedom of action which modified the trade embargo on Cuba and other sanctions imposed in 1964 by this organization. Relations with United States also began to improve, restrictions on travel to the United States became more flexible and, in September 1977, the two countries opened branches in the capitals. However, United States warned Cuba that relations could not settle down until their demands regarding the properties nationalized U.S. and Cuba were met or simply cease its activities in Africa. 

CUBAN PRESENCE IN AFRICA AND AMERICA 

In the middle of the 1960s had begun to reach Cuban military advisers to the African continent, mainly to Angola and Ethiopia. Castro sent military personnel who were part of the personal guard of figures like President Alphonse Massamba-Débat Congolese. However, it was not until 1975 that Cuban combat forces were in action on the continent, supporting the Marxist government of Angola. Later, Cuban troops reinforced the Marxist regime of Ethiopia, who won in their war against Somalia in the Ogaden region. In 1980 Cuban activities had spread to the Middle East, specifically to South Yemen. 

In general, the Cuban presence in Africa was interpreted by the West as the spearhead of a growing Soviet domination in the region. As a reward, Cuba received Soviet aid worth nearly $ 3 million a day. In 1979, despite its close relationship with the USSR, Cuba hosted the sixth summit of the Organization of Non-Aligned Countries, in which Fidel Castro was elected president for the next three years. 

In 1980 Castro temporarily changed the restrictions on leaving the country, about 125,000 Cubans fled to the United States before the flow re-arrested in what is known as the Mariel exodus. ” Again the relationship with that country deteriorated when the U.S. accused Cuba of helping leftist rebels in El Salvador, another sensitive point in relations between the two countries was the assistance provided by Cuban advisers to the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. In addition, in October 1983 hundreds of construction workers and military personnel were forced to leave Cuba after the Grenada invasion of the island by troops of the United States. 

END OF THE SOVIET AID 

In April 1989, during the visit of Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev to Havana, the two countries signed a treaty of friendship for 25 years, 

although Fidel Castro openly rejected the application of political and economic reforms that Gorbachev had established in the USSR. In July of that year, four army officers were executed and another ten were sentenced to prison on charges of smuggling and drug trafficking, the worst scandal since Castro had come to power. With the collapse of the USSR at the beginning of the 1990s, aid and trade subsidies to Cuba from the Soviet bloc came to an end and the Soviet forces were gradually withdrawn from the country. Subsequently, United States further tightened the sanctions against trade relations with Cuba in November 1992 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the dismissal of the U.S. embargo. These convictions of the UN were repeated sequentially in subsequent years. In 1993 all Soviet troops sent to Cuba during the missile crisis had already been withdrawn. 

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