Castro and his brother led 165 youths in an attack on the Moncada army to obtain weapons, but it was a failure. Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison
Castro Released from Prison
May 15, 1955
Batista released political prisoners to improve his image
Castro's Rebel Army Increased
1957 - 1958
The use of guerrilla warfare all throughout Cuba made many people exposed to the revolutionary activity. The respect shown to poor peasants gave them valuable support among the local population.
Pact of Sierra
Frank Pais convinced Ortodoxo politicians and business people to issue a joint Pact of Sierra, which called to force Batista from power and hold new elections.
Communist PSP gave support to Castro
US Reduced Support for Batista's Dictatorship
US gov realized that to protect US investments in Cuba and prevent Castro coming to power, Batista would have to be replaced. Failure to persuade Batista to retire caused the US to place an arms embargo, weakening Batista's resistance to Castro's forces.
Government Offensive Collapsed
Castro's Guerrilla Army Controlled the Countryside
Numbered about 50,000. Batista's increased use of torture and executions provoked spontaneous uprisings all across the island, causing more and more to join the urban resistance or guerrilla groups. The several military plots against Batista forced him to resign and flee on New Years Eve.
Rise to Power: Economic Causes
Price of sugar declined
1952 - 1954
Since Cuba was dependent on sugar, there was a series of recessions in the Cuban economy.
Unemployment: 17% of labor force unemployed, and a further 13% underemployed
Consolidation of Power: Ideology
"History Will Absolve Me" Speech and Manifesto
Developed goals of independence from foreign control, social justice, economic and industrial modernization, agrarian reform, rent reductions, expansion of education and healthcare, etc.
"First Declaration of Havana" speech
Condemned US imperialism
Speech after Failure of Bay of Pigs
May 1, 1961
Castro spoke of "our socialist revolution"
Castro proclaimed his "Marxism-Leninism"
December 1961 - March 1962
Socialism was a strategy for a nationalist project of modernization, based on state control of the economy, prioritizing production over consumption, and hostility to US imperialism. His revolutionary reforms required central political and economic control. Socialism created a vision of a world free from poverty, exploitation and injustice.
Consolidation of Power: Economics
Prices of utilities reduced
Castro took over several utility companies and reduced their prices.
US interpreted it as a clear leaning to communism. 40% of Cuban farmland was expropriated and divided into individual plots for landless plantation workers and small farmers or peasants.
Soviet Union agreed to purchase Cuban sugar at a favorable rate
1960 - 1970
Enabled long-term planning, but meant Cuba would have to concentrate on sugar
Wages of non-agricultural workers rose and rents reduced by up to 50%
Rents for cheaper urban dwellings were reduced by up to 50%
USSR Sugar Agreements
February 1960 - 1965
February 1960: agreed to purchase a million tonnes of sugar each year for five years. Also provided a 100 million dollar credit for the purchase of plant and equipment.
Castro nationalized all the main US-owned properties
August 6, 1960
382 Cuban firms socialized
October 13, 1960
Including all sugar mills, banks, and large industries
80% industry under state control, state enterprises produced 90% of exports
Rationing of most consumer products
Castro had to bring in rationing because of the 1962 Cuban economy collapse. The fair distribution of food contrasted with other states in the region, marked by inequalities and poverty
Castro visits the USSR and Guevera's diversification plans were abandoned
April 1963 - June 1963
Soviet assistance would be given to Cuba to concentrate on sugar production again.
1964 - 1966
Before the revolution, there was high unemployment. However, production began to fall as moral incentives replaced material incentives.
USSR agreed to purchase 5 million tonnes of sugar in 1968 and 1969
With a guaranteed price. However, harvests of 1968 and 1969 only yielded 3.7 tonnes.
Cuban economy in massive debt to the USSR
Soaring price of sugar in the world market
Cuba joined Comecon
December 1972 - 1982
Cuban economy increasingly reorganized along Soviet lines.
Castro signed a 15-year economic agreement with Brezhnev
Substantially increased Soviet subsidy to the Cuban economy. It increased the price for paid sugar, deferred debt payments for 15 years (to be repaid over 25 years with no interest) and new investment credits ($350 million over three years)
Return to more centralized command economy
Castro introduced anti-market measures, argued Cuba still lacked "comprehensive national planning for economic development"
Gorbachev determined to cut down Soviet support
Phased out price subsidies and required Cuba to pay for Soviet goods with US dollars
Special Period in Time of Peace
1990 - 1996
Economic crisis after dissolution of the Soviet Union. However, no schools or hospitals were closed. The government maintained free education and healthcare.
World price of sugar dropped to $200, no more financing from the Soviet Union
In 1990, Cuba paid $602 per tonne. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant all subsidies and financing was cancelled.
Consolidation of Power: Politics
At least 40,000 emigrants left Cuba
1959 - 1961
First wave were Batista's supporters
Indefinite suspension of elections
Castro stressed that the people were not ready to assume government. Castro feared that a market/private enterprise economy and multi-party political system would allow the USA to continue to influence the economy and politics of Cuba.
Moderate members of the cabinet began to resign over communist policies
Urrutia forced to resign and replaced by a Castro supporter
Remaining moderates and liberals either resigned or were forced out of office
The removal of anti- and non-communists resulted in a new coalition containing several communists. Castro effectively ended the dual power situation between the cabinet and the INRA (National Institute of Agrarian Reform).
Trade Unions Election: Castro pushed for unity with communists
The 26 July Movement seemed certain to win a majority, but Castro pushed for unity with the communists.
Committees for the Defence of Revolution (CDR)
CDRs were set up in every city district, in each large building, factory, and workplace. They were the largest mass organization with 7 million members, and helped many identify with the revolution. The CDRs identified enemies of the revolution and repressed counter-revolutionary opinions and activities through sabotage and terrorism.
Press was under Castro's control, and Castro had the power to appoint new judges
At least 150,000 left Cuba
1961 - 1962
Second wave were disillusioned middle-class liberals, and members of the business and professional elites who opposed Castro's increasing moves towards communism after 1961.
Bay of Pigs
Led to the immediate arrest of all suspected counter-revolutionaries. Resulted in a wave of nationalism and pride and anyone opposed to Castro's regime could be seen as traitors. Castro used the US threats to increase his control.
26 July Movement, DR and PSP merged into the ORI
ORI: Integrated Revolutionary Organizations.The PSP had political experience Castro's guerrilla army did not. The PSP had experience with party politics, organizing mass movements, etc.
Restructuring of ORI to remove PSP members
PSP dominated the ORI initially. Castro expelled almost half of its membership.
ORI became the United Party of the Socialist Revolution (PURS)
PURS became the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC)
Revolutionary power had been consolidated and Castro established his pre-eminence over all potential rivals.
Traditionalist Communists put on trial for factionalism
Some traditionalist communists opposed Castro's criticisms of the Soviet Union. The result of the trial gave Castro even greater power. After 1968, the party posed no serious challenge to Castro.
Opposition emerging in trade unions and Castro's response
July 26, 1970
Workers were absent and there was poor productivity. Castor admitted his mistakes in a speech and argued for more democratic methods of consultation at grassroots levels.
Cabinet and Communist Party enlarged
There was a shift from individual to collective responsibility. An executive committee of 8 took over many of Castro's functions. It created a more formally democratic system and gave greater political stability. The Communist Party also became more representative. Castro no longer had the unlimited authority he had in the 1960s.
Citizens and various mass organizations were able to directly nominate the list of candidates for different levels of representation.
Castro replaced Dorticos as President
December 2, 1976
Castro used his position as President, head of the Communist party and armed forces to impose his will on economic and domestic policy, despite losing unlimited authority.
1986 - 1987
Castro admitted "errors," criticized economic liberalization of the 1970s and attacked signs of corruption. He singled out bureaucrats and technocrats and those who enriched themselves under the 1970s market mechanisms. The campaign was a response to growing dissatisfaction amongst workers who were angry about increasing shortages.
Collapse of regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union
1989 - 1991
General Arnaldo Ochoa and several other senior military and intelligence figures were arrested on charges of corruption and drug smuggling. Four were sentenced to death, several others received prison sentences from 20-30 years.
Rapid Response Brigades
These brigades harassed opposition groups demanding political reforms (like Gorbachev reforms) and human rights.
Allowed a direct vote in elections for members of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies
Aldana sacked and other reformists purged
These reformers favored Gorbachev policies and political liberalization. They called for some form of political pluralism.
Consolidation of Power: Social Policies
Proportion of women in labor force doubled
1958 - 1988
Castro's Proclamation against Discrimination Speech
Campaign against racial discrimination. The government repealed pre-1959 laws that allowed or enforced racial discrimination.
Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) set up
Changed sexist opinions and behavior. Also played a role in getting an egalitarian Family Code in 1975
The Year of Education
Gov took over private and Church schools, achieving virtual universal attendance at primary schools. Over 3000 schools were built and over 300,000 children attended school for the first time.
Revolutionary Armed Forces forced gay men into labor camps
1965 - 1967
Forced gay men into UMAP (Military Units to Help Production) work batalions. Castro ordered the camps to be disbanded in 1967 due to significant criticism of Cuba for it.
Gay men and lesbian women expelled from Communist Party
Teachers, artists, actors also lost their jobs. This was later overturned by the Supreme Court in 1975