In this paper I will examine Fidel Castro’s History Will Absolve Me speech as a tool, to illustrate the vast differences between Cuba prior to the revolution and after, in order to determine whether, if indeed, history has absolved Castro. Moreover, to completely understand the Cuban revolution, one first needs to know the cause of the revolution. Despite the multitude of personal reasons for wanting a revolution in Cuba there is generally a consensus among the Cuban people that the revolution was needed to attack the widespread discontent in Cuba towards an undemocratic government that was neglectful of its citizens.
The discontent towards the Cuban government peaked under Fulgencio Batista, in which poverty and inequality increased. (Citation). Bautista had been Cuba's leader for most of the time since he led a military coup in 1933. He then later remained a dictator until 1940 when he officially became an elected president through elections that were not fair or free (citation needed). He also ran the government behind the scenes using puppet presidents until 1952 when he decided to run for the presidency once more. In 1952 when he saw that the elections were not going in his favor he dissolved the government and declared himself the leader of Cuba once more (citation required). He was able to do these in large part thanks to his close ties to US businesses.
As one can imagine, the citizenry was not pleased with his actions. After Bautista came to power once more in 1952 many people in Cuba were disgusted by Bautista’s actions and preferred Cuba’s democracy, as flawed as it was. (Citation). Additionally, many citizens started to plan a way to get rid of Bautista and formed a revolution that would be capable of bring about an egalitarian society capable of self-determination. One of these movements and perhaps the most important is the The Movement lead by Fidel Castro. The Movement, which would later be known as the 26th of July Movement was a paramilitary organization he created to overthrow Fulgencio Batista’s military junta and fix the inequality that plagued Cuba ever since it first became a Spanish colony.
Moreover, July 26th 1953 has come to mark the historic beginning of the Cuban revolution with the first act of armed resistance. (Citation) On this day Castro lead the 26th of July Movement to an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago, Cuba. This attack failed, leaving many militants dead and Castro in prison. It was during his trial when Castro’s defense for his actions helped crystallize the goals of the 26th of July Movement in the form of his speech, which would later be known as History Will Absolve Me.
Throughout the war, History Will Absolve Me functioned as the manifesto of the revolution and as the founding text of what the revolution promised for Cuba's future. Furthermore, in History Will Absolve Me Castro’s five revolutionary laws would later shape his influence on the Cuba and the Cuban people. In these laws he...