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Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution Changed the Lives of Cubans

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The researcher chose to investigate this to gain knowledge of its Caribbean neighbor Cuba and its infamous history. This topic was chosen because there was available information and resources to use for research. The researcher also felt it important to choose this topic as Cuba’s relationship to the Caribbean and the rest of the world to be quite complex and interesting. Looking at their background will give more understanding to the researcher about the people and how they became such a major player in international politics and why they Castro was so revered.

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During 1952-1959 CUBA faced its hardest years. They had a dictator named Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar. He controlled the universities, the press and the congress; he embezzled huge sums of money from the souring economy. He allowed Cuba to become a playground for rich Americans. Americans would fly out to Havana to gamble and to enjoy the good life. It also had prostitution occurring and Americans had an opportunity to take part in such promiscuous lifestyle. Nothing could have been in more stark contrast to lives of poverty to the Cuban citizenry. Most of the land and businesses were owned by Americans. Although, the businesses were in Cuba, the Americans employed their own hence the reason most Cubans were unemployed and poor. Parents couldn’t afford to send their children to school or universities furthermore Cubans couldn’t afford medical care when they became ill.

According to the author Dr.Eric Williams in the book “From Columbus to Castro” before Castro there was only one doctor for more than 3000 persons in the rural areas, leading to descend in Cuba that only cattle were vaccinated. Only 4% of the Cuban peasants ate meat as a regular part of their diet; while 1% ate fish, less than 2% egg, 3% bread, 11% milk, none ate green vegetables. Over 50% of Cuba’s rural dwelling had no toilets of any kind, 97% had no refrigeration facilities, and 85% had no inside running water. 

More than one third of the rural population had intestinal parasite. 82% of Cuba’s total land area was farmland but only 22% of that was cultivated. When Castro took over by the revolution he constructed rural medical centres, sewerage and water schemes, he reduced sugar areas on land in order to cultivate new crop. He also had a plan of 100,000 chickens a month to be produced on each of his 100 giant poultry farms. According to the author Fidel Castro & Ignacio Ramonet in the book “Fidel Castro My Life”, the revolution allowed 70,000 students medicine.

Before Castro took over 75% of rural dwellings were huts made from the palm trees. The peasants were isolated on account of the state of roads. Over 50% of Cuba’s rural had no toilets of any kind, 97% had no refrigeration facilities, and 85% had no inside running water. More than one third of the rural population had intestinal parasites. According to the author Dr.Eric Williams in the book (2003), 82% of Cuba’s total land area was farmland but only 22% of that was cultivated. 

Americans sugar companies controlled about 75% of Cuba’s arable land. American participation exceeded 90% in the telephone and electric services, 50% in the railways, and about 40% in the sugar production. Castro’s revolution reduced electricity rates outside Havana to Havana level, resulting in saving of 15 million dollars a year for Cuban consumers. According to the author Dr.Eric Williams in the book (2003), his revolution also envied the road construction because Castro under which 600 miles of road were constructed in the first 6 months of the revolution, and the announcement that a sewerage and water scheme would be constructed in rurals. He constructed rural medical centres, mobile dispensaries, children’s nurseries, homes for the aged, institutes for the handicapped, tremendous housing programme under which houses were going up at the rate of 27 a day and 833 a month.

According to the authors Fidel Castro & Ignacio Ramonet (2009) they explained, Cuba’s backwardness was largely due to the fact that it was at the mercy of external forces on the world market. Sugar production fluctuated from 3.6 million in 1932, 7 million in 1952, and 4.7 million in 1954.The price fluctuated even more widely, from just fewer than 12 cents per pound on the American market on 1920 to 11 cents in 1937 and 5 cents between 1953 and 1958. It was obviously impossible for any country to plan its economy or to develop its standard of living on the basis of such dependence on capricious world forces which it could not hope to control, this was Cuba governed by the dictator Batista. 

Castro’s original economic programme had, in the tradition of the West Indian nationalist movement, opposed the pronounced tendency to monoculture in Cuba’s economy with emphasis on sugar, and foreign ownership of the sugar industry, and it pledged diversification of the economy principally by a programme of accelerated industrial development. In power, Castro took the decision to reduce sugar production. The combination of a bad drought and government policy led in the period 1961-1963 to a reduction of 14% in the sugar area cut, 42% in the cane ground, and 33% in unit yield. Castro’s revolution also managed to reduce electricity rates outside Havana to the Havana level resulting in a saving of 15 million a year Cuban consumers.

According to the author Dr.Eric Williams in the book (2003), pre Castro 27% of the urban children and 61% of the rural children were not attending school. Slightly over 50% of the peasants could read and write; 43% were completely illiterate, 44% had never attended school. Castro’s revolution allowed over 10,000 students ages 12-14; ⅘ of these were in the rural areas .Also about 142,000 students in the first standard were ages 9-11; 8/10 were in rural areas of the total. 1 ½ million students in the primary schools, 58,000 was in the 6th standard; of these ⅕ came from rural areas. Castro’s Revolution was able to open more classrooms than the predecessors had opened in 30 years.

 Many girls also, between the ages of 14 and 21 learned sewing and dressmaking as well as reading, Brighton, arithmetic and history. At the end of the cause everyone was presented with a sewing machine of her own, on one condition that she teaches the others at the home and in the village. In a special school in Havana domestic servants were trained to be taxi drivers. But Castro’s Achievement was his literacy Campaign, which at least 300,000 people (among them 100,000 Secondary School persons and 35,000 teachers plus many key workers and employees) to reduce the illiteracy 3/8 to 4% of the total population. The number of Industries was estimated at 1 million. Primary School teachers, Secondary School students, adults were recruited and grouped into brigades. 

According to the authors Fidel Castro & Ignacio Ramonet in the book(2009), each member was supplied with a uniform, hammock, blanket, instruction books, a teaching manual, a Cuban flag, and a paraffin lamp (in the absence of rural electricity) which became the symbol of the campaign post office the text of the end of the course consisted of reading one or two short paragraph from the basic text book “Venceremos” (We shall overcome), taking simple dictation, and writing a letter to Castro. Also the revolution allowed 70,000 people to study medicine, to build universities and high schools.

The question was asked, ‘to what extent Fidel Castro Cuban revolution has changed the lives of the Cuban’s?’ To a great extent. Castro’s revolution managed to build hospitals, factories, schools, homes, universities, industries and many more. He sent over 2 million pupils to school, whether it was primary, secondary, university, trade school or programmes. He was able to recover most of the businesses that were owned by the U.S and he employed Cubans. He reduced electricity rates in order to save 15 million a year. The revolution made a gateway to boost their agriculture systems to plant new crops so Cuban would start to eat healthy. Though trying to gain this entire, he broke many humanitarian laws, he killed over 1000 people trying to gain power over Cuba during his revolution.

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