Pérez-Stable, Marifeli. The Cuban revolution: origins, course, and legacy. Oxford,England: Oxford University Press, 1999. Print.

Uriarte, Miren. “”The Right Priorities: Health, Education, and Literacy”.” pbs. pbs, 12 21 2004. Web. 14 Dec 2010. <;.

Marsico, Katie. Fidel Castro: Cuban President & Revolutionary. Edina, Minnesota : ABDO , 2009. Print.

Simkin, John. “Fidel Castro.” Spartacus , 12 14 2010. Web. 14 Dec 2010. <http://

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Section 3

Structure of Government:

Cuba under Fidel Castro became a one-party socialist state. This meant that there was only one party in control (Communist Party). A socialist state means that they favor communism with a backing republican government.  The structure of the government immensely assisted Castro in controlling power in Cuba. Since there was only one party in control, there was little to no political interference which allowed Castro to carry out his agenda. Cuba coming a Socialist state aided Castro in his quest for supreme power. The economy was nationalized, and government held immense power. He was also the commander and chief of the military. As you can see, Castro reformed Cuba so that he controlled every aspect of the Cuban Government.

One policy:

Typically dictators look at religion as a threat to their power and suppress and limit religion. Castro was the exact opposite. He was a devout catholic who supported the church and other protestant religions. This is very strange for a left wing dictator. I think he did this because he wanted to keep the citizens happy. Take away religion, and you take away something that is vitally important to the majority of Cuba. This would have led to many problems and I think by doing this he was able to keep the citizens content.

Communism also had a dramatic impact on all social and political policies. It increased the dependency the common man had the government. So as a result of implementing Communism, Cuban political and social policies were dramatically impacted.


Castro made some dramatic changes to the education and healthcare system. Prior to Castro only 8 percent of rural Cubans had access to healthcare. He helped increase birth rates and drastically increases access to healthcare. His changes to the education system were impressive as well. He increase literacy rate from only 76% to 97% percent in 2000. This is a higher literacy rate than the United States! While I think Castro made some very impressive changes to the education system, he knew the dangers of education. He realized that the more knowledge you receive, the more you question and thus increases the chance of revolution. So he made sure that he educated Cubans enough to satisfy the general public but not enough for people to begin to challenge his position of leadership.


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2) Establishment of Power

Three methods to establish power:

The main method that Fidel Castro used to establish was brute military force. He was the leader of the Cuban Revolution and with his group of guerilla soldiers, fought Batista who eventually had to flee to the Dominican Republic He lead battles such as the attack on Moncada barracks and the Battle of Yaguajay.  Another way that Fidel gained power was through his propaganda, including his famous slogan, “Revolution Now, Elections Later.” Using this propaganda he was able to convince thousands of citizens to join his cause. He also worked with outside influences like Che Guevara who helped him plan his military operations.  By using a variety of propaganda, along with a grassroots military with outside leaders, Fidel was able to establish power in Cuba.

Left or Right Wing:

With authoritarian leaders, there is a very limited range in terms of defining left wing vs. right wing, and they fall into a grey area in terms of their political leanings. For Castro, his ideology was left wing in that he believed in heavy government regulation, a Marxist/Communist economic ideology, and large scale public education and government run programs. So in many ways Castro was an extreme left politician since this are common characteristics of Left wing However in his implementation of his ideology some right wing leanings emerge. He often used prison camps in which he would keep any oppositional forces. It is estimated that at any point there was over 20,000 prisoners stationed in Cuba. The imprisonment of dissidents is a right wing ideology so for this reason he would be considered slightly right in implementation. However as a whole Castro is considered a left wing leader as he had many more  left wing ideologies than right and therefore is defined a left wing politician.

Treatment of Opposition:

Fidel Castro typically treated opposition with little mercy and carried out several purges and imprisoned thousands. After Batista fled to the Dominican Republic, the remaining Batista Generals had to flee to the mountains of Cuba. Fidel Castro had a zero tolerance policy towards the remaining Batista Regime and if any were caught they were executed. As a result many fled to America, and to an extent his policy towards opposition caused The Bay of Pigs invasion. His approach to opposition was very successful and during his 40 plus years in office he faced very little internal opposition. However, due to the Cold War, there were constantly external issues with primarily the United States

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1) Origins, devolpment and nature of the Regime

Three Main causes that produced the authoritarian state:

President Fulgencio Batista manipulated the Cuban commercial industry, worked heavily with America and specifically the Mob for his own corrupt gain. This was the main talking point of Fidel Castro who offered a solution to Batista and a new economic system, Marxism, which was appealing the overwhelming poverty experienced by the public. He used anti America rhetoric to help gain support as well as an anti-America/Nationalist propaganda project that blamed the current conditions on the United States and stated that Cuba should be self-reliant. This was important because this appealed to the public who associated their current conditions with United States intervention.

Specific Aims of Leader as they rose to power:

The first aim of Fidel was to overthrow Batista. This is what sparked the revolution, and most of the revolutionaries had not planned the steps that were to follow ie. Who was to take power, it was simply get Batista out of power. They wanted to get rid of the corruption and poverty that had come with Batista. Once this was complete, Fidel began forming his other aims, most importantly, he wanted to replace the capitalist system set up by Batista and replace with Marxist economic plan. Fidel was ironically enough, anticommunist during his revolutionary days, but after the Bay of Pigs and an alliance with Russia, Fidel transitioned into a socialist/communist state. Redistribution of wealth, especially land, was another main aim of Castro and a key aspect of setting up his Marxist economy. Prior to this, America had hundreds of thousands of acres in Cuba. Reducing or eliminating foreign influence, especially the United States was an extremely important aim of Castro as this is what he believed to have caused the corruption in the Batista regime.

Mains aspects describing ideology:

The most well-known aspects of Fidel Castro’s Ideology was his support for Marxism in Cuba. This, surprisingly enough did not reveal itself during the Cuban revolution and was a byproduct once he took power. He chose this system because it was in stark contrast to the U.S reliant capitalist system of years prior. Another main aspect of his Ideology was nationalism. Cubans experienced immense poverty and corruption at the hands of Batista and to a large extent the U.S mob. Former Us ambassador to cuba Earl Smith once stated in a public interview that, “Until Castro, the U.S. was so overwhelmingly influential in Cuba that the American ambassador was the second most important man, sometimes even more important than the Cuban president.” So to get rid of this power Castro focused heavily on self-reliance and reducing foreign influence

To what extent did the leader achieve totalitarian rule:

Totalitarian Rule is typically defined as a country that has a dictator who controlled his country through a military police force who suppressed opposition through, suppression of the arts and media with government regulated communication and a centrally directed economy. Castro fulfills many of these requirements. Castro heavily regulated communications and closed down all opposition newspapers, radio stations. He also purged countless teachers, politicians, and moderates. He is estimated to had 20,000 Cuban citizens help in prisons and tortured each year. He kicked out all opposition in the political spectrum and held complete control over Cuba. He nationalized business and controlled the economy through a socialist economy. I would consider Castro a Totalitarian leader because he fulfilled these requirements.


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Supplement Propaganda

This is a propaganda poster used by Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion. It portrays of group of heavily camouflaged and armed Batista soldiers aiming there guns. This was used to inform Cubans of the invasion.

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Supplement Cartoon

This political cartoon was from the 1970’s. It depicts him giving a speech saying Cuba Yes, Yanqui (American) no. However instead of saying no he says nyet which is russian for no. This is ironic because Castro constatly tried to remain nationalist and to not be influenced like batista was but this cartoons shows that Russia has begun to infiltrate his thoughts. It also shows Che in the background.

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Supplement Pictures

Fidel Castro

This is a picture of Fidel during the revolution with a group of soldiers. It relates to the establishment of power during the Cuban Revolution.

Fidel Castro with Che Guevara during the revolution. This relates to both the Origins of regime and establishment of power because Che help originate the revolution.

Castro speaking in front of thousands in Havana after the events at the bay of pigs. (Treatment of Opposition)

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