The Cuban revolution, which began in July 1953, was led by Fidel Castro, Ernesto Guevara, Raul Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos who formed the 26th of July Movement which conducted the revolution. This revolution that was led by the so named persons was aimed at overthrowing the U.S. backed dictator General Fulgencio Batista and his regime and this was achieved in January 1959. In addition, the Cuban revolution also refers to the changes in the social and economic programs which were and are still being implemented by the government since the overthrowing of the Batista’s regime.
The revolution started because the colonialists, Cuban people, were not content in being taxed by the British and they felt that they were being overtaxed and therefore wanted a change in the system. Furthermore, the Batista’s regime was involved in massive corruption, embezzlement of funds and the mismanagement of resources resulting in the citizens receiving poor services from the government. As a result, a few of the citizens who were not contended in the government’s efforts decided to rise up and fight for their rights and better governance which would ensure that corruption was dealt with and the resources were well managed as to help the citizens. These brought about the rise of the revolution.
The Cuban revolution began when a small group of armed guerillas attacked the Moncada barracks on 26 July, 1953 where the survivors among them Fidel Castro and Raul Castro were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms for organizing the attacks. Due to pressure from the opposition, the attackers including Fidel and Raul Castro were released and they went into exile in Mexico where they gathered more exiled Cubans to fight in the revolution (Crow, 46). While in exile, they received training from a former Spanish military leader by the name Alberto Bayo and here he met Ernesto Guevara. As a result, revolutionists were well equipped and positioned to fight for their independence.
Crow (78) asserts that with the assistance of some of the people who also wanted to start a revolution such as Frank Pais, Ramos Latour and others, they managed to stage attacks on the garrisons of Batista’s army in the Sierra Maestra mountains where they proved to be successful and with time, they managed to consolidate political control in the mountains and taking over from the Batista’s regime. The success was warranted to the assistance that was provided by the maligned forces which provided Castro’s army with moderate military support, intelligence and supplies thus ensuring its win and control in the mountain regions. Another reason for Castro’s win was that the Cuban army was ineffective in its operations and also the U.S had imposed an arms embargo to Cuba in 1958 resulting into the Cuban air force losing its power as their planes could not undergo repair and maintenance due to lack of spare parts which originated from the U.S.
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With the continuing control in the mountain regions by Castro, the government launched an attack which was supposedly meant to bring down Castro’s grip in the mountain regions but it ended being unsuccessful as Castro’s army was able to escape the military’s trap. After the military attacks failed, the rebels began an offensive attack by descending from the mountains into the surrounding towns and taking control (Echevarria, 28). What made the take-over successful was the fact that each leader had an army and they targeted different regions and they came out successful.
With the consolidation of the take-over of the regions, Castro’s control was reinforced and as a result, Batista panicked and he fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic. Learning of his departure, Castro immediately started negotiations to take over Cuba and the military commander allowed Castro’s forces to take control. The forces under Guevara and Cienfuegos took over Havana. With Castro being the top man of the rebel group, he took control of Cuba in 1 January, 1959. This symbolized the beginning of the Cuban revolution which saw changes in the political, social and economic scenes.
Impact of the Cuban Revolution
According to Echevarria (36), the revolution has a positive impact to the Cubans. With the coming of the revolution, education and literacy programs were established and this led to the population receiving education and dealing with illiteracy which characterized the previous regime. More schools were built and facilities were provided which allowed more people to get an education therefore levels of illiteracy diminished. This ensured that people became aware of the policies, laws and working of the government. Castro’s regime also ensured a guaranteed health care to the masses.
Furthermore, the revolution was of importance because it eliminated economic, racial and social injustices (Echevarria, 41). Racial injustice was dominant before the revolution as those considered of a different skin color such as the blacks could not be allowed into some educational institutions, some parts of the country they could not visit and they were treated as second class citizens. But with the revolution, this changed and blacks could associate with whoever they pleased, go to any educational institution and also those regions they could not previously go to. The wages of those working increased as money meant for the people did not go into pockets of few wealthy individuals as corruption was dealt with and labor laws implemented protected the workers from exploitation.
Since the revolution, the number of tourists going to Cuba increased significantly and as a result, there was improved growth in the economy which in turn ensured good living conditions and services for the citizens (Echevarria, 89). The revolution also led to the Cubans taking control of their industries which were mainly under the control of the U.S which was profiteering majorly from them leaving Cuba in a bad state as the funds went back to the U.S and a few wealthy individuals rather than being invested in the Cuban system.
Due to the revolution, the U.S – Latin America relations were greatly severed because most of the Latin America countries were demanding for reforms similar to that by Castro’s government. With such occurrences the U.S. relations with these countries has been greatly affected as these countries demand to have their own democracies without interference from the U.S. This led to many countries cutting relations with the U.S which in turn affected them majorly as they had invested heavily in these Latin America countries (Echevarria, 102). As it was the case with Castro, he redistributed wealth that resulted in land owned by the American companies being given to peasants and most of these industries were nationalized thus affecting American companies which dominated the Cuban economy. With such an act, other Latin America countries wanted to follow in the same path which resulted in severed U.S- Latin America relations.
Fidel’s and Guevara’s role in the revolution was of great importance and it contributed to the success of overthrowing Batista from power. Fidel managed to lead the group to victory and also ensured the revolution extend beyond into a legitimate social revolution which saw the growth of Cuba’s economy and also a change in the socio-economic and political structures. Guevara’s role was pivotal in assisting Fidel to seize power from Batista by unifying and driving force behind Fidel’s leadership.
The 1910 Mexican Revolution
The Mexican revolution which began in the 1910 was believed to have lasted till 1920. The revolution led by a young Mexican by the name Francisco I. Madero was aimed at bringing down the government of President Porfirio Diaz who had been in power for thirty one years (Crow, 40). The revolution was as a result of the tremendous disagreements among the Mexican people over the dictatorship of President Diaz whose rule saw power and wealth being concentrated on the hands of a few individuals and the people had no power to express their opinions about the government and also to select and elect their public officials as the president selected the officials. With such acts, the people felt oppressed of their freedom as corruption was massive and the peasants were being exploited as their lands were being taken from them and given to a few wealthy individuals.
Effect of the Mexican revolution
Political, economic and social factors are the main reason for the occurrence of the Mexican revolution. Diaz government was very corrupt and this brought about severe poverty in Mexico resulting in separation of the classes which created great tension (Skidmore et al., 17). Instability was also a very common factor in Mexico and this led to the country’s overreliance on loans from foreign countries which put pressure on the population as the loans demanded very high interest rates.
The political system in the country was adversely affected because power was concentrated on a few wealthy individuals and the people had no word against the government as they were oppressed. The constitution was greatly ignored by the political elite resulting into a poor political system as only one person through dictatorship kept power among a few individuals. The political system became more of a monarchy rather than a democratic one as it was initially (Skidmore et al., 21). With such a political system, the needs of the common citizen were not being met as the government concentrated on immersing wealth only for a few individuals. During the revolution, it was observed that President Diaz had been in power for thirty one years and during his reign the political system deteriorated greatly as he rigged during elections to keep power and also would jail any one rising to oppose him.
Skidmore et al. (32) stipulate that the decay of the political system and massive corruption affected the economy greatly. As wealth was kept among a few, corruption was great and he took large amounts of land from the poor giving it to the rich further increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. This resulted in the lower class not being able to make any money thus not affording any food. This extreme poverty cases led the country to greatly relying on foreign aid which affected its economy greatly as the nation of Mexico was running on aid from foreign nations. With the foreign dependency, the Mexican economy was unstable.
With the onset of the revolution, the foreign nations demanded to be repaid which further crippled the Mexican economy. Although the economy was further crippled, the revolution changed operations and systems of the government which resulted in the growth of the economy and stopped the dependence on foreign nations. Structures were established which would oversee that there was no further corruption and that wealth was not only distributed among the few wealthy individuals. The revolution ensured that the peasants got their land back and the government invested in the industry which helped in reviving the economy.
Economic impacts of the revolution
With the revolution resulting in the economy improving, the social environment changed and the issue of classes was controlled as even the poorest would have a source of income. Furthermore, there was improvement in the education system and health systems leading to an improved social scene (Skidmore et al., 41). The cultural scene was also greatly influenced in that people from different cultures came together so as to fight for their liberation from an ineffective dictatorship government. This coming together encouraged cultural integration which led to a unified people as they all were fighting for one course. In addition to people coming together, the Mexican revolution allowed people from different cultures come settle amongst them thus encouraging and improving the cultural scene.
The agrarian reform was one of the things that came about with the revolution. Because land had been taken from the peasants before the PRI set out to give back the land to those whom land had been taken from. The agrarian reform benefitted nearly 730,000 people. In this reform, the plots of land which were being redistributed were two and a half times bigger than before. The lands were given to communities living in towns and it was communally held. This ensured that land was cultivated well and the proceeds from the crops would be divided amongst the people therefore improving their lives. Also, the government decided to take control of the oil fields and the haciendas from the British and American imperialists giving it to be managed by its people (Skidmore et al., 48).
The U.S. is mainly interested in the affairs of the Mexicans because it is their second largest and most important trading partner and this trade is of great importance to many industries in the U.S. It is linked with the U.S. through trade, tourism, migration, investment and even cultural relationships. On the other hand, Mexico is a route for illegal immigrants, illicit drugs and illegal businesses and these calls for corporation between the two nations to effectively deal with such problems. Due to the economic and cultural relationship between the two nations, the U.S has to take great interest in the happenings of Mexico because they have major interests in business and health among others in Mexico.
If anything significant occurs that may prove to affect the relationship of the two countries, something has to be done so as to ensure that things are in order as both the countries tend to benefit from the relations especially the U.S. This explains why the U.S takes great interest in the happenings in Mexico because they have interest their which they need to protect. The bilateral relations between the two countries can be simply explained as friendly and beneficial because it has been seen that both the countries benefit therefore the relation is highly fostered.
In general, the 1910 Mexican Revolution was of great importance to Mexico as a country. This is because it freed Mexicans from chains of oppression and maltreatment. It led to equal distribution of wealth across the country and gave powers to all people across the country. Unlike initially where few people owned properties and the country governed by one person due to his dictatorship, revolution led to redemption of democracy in Mexico other than monarchy that was being practiced indirectly. Living condition in Mexico was improved to high standards with the revolution in that people became self dependent and stopped to rely on foreign aids and loans. The 1910 Mexican Revolution also led to improved mutual relationship between Mexico and the United States with each country being of great significance to one another.