The Cuban Revolution Essay

2815 words - 11 pages

Understanding the Insurrection and Seizure of Power [1952-1959]

Marifeli Pérez-Stable looks back at the Cuban Revolution through a sociological lens in her book The Cuban Revolution. Pérez-Stable claims that Cubans held national independence and social justice as goals ever since the end of the nineteenth century. Radical nationalism remained important in Cubans’ view of themselves and their ideals. Thus, Pérez-Stable argues that the origins of the Cuban Revolution of 1959 lie in the independence movement against Spain and the frustrations from the unfulfilled goals they had kept since before the turn of the century (Pérez-Stable 1998, p 4).

In the introduction of The Cuban Revolution, the author lists six factors which made Cuba "susceptible" to radical revolution (it is interesting to note that Pérez-Stable is essentially giving no credit to the 26th of July Movement and Castro, but rather she is noting how the Cuban society was susceptible to revolution). The six factors listed are: mediated sovereignty, sugar-centered development, uneven modernization, the crisis of political authority, the weakness of the clases económicas, and the relative strength of the clases populares (Pérez-Stable, p 7). The vicious circle with the U.S. and sugar plays a big role in the situation and in the 1950’s. As Pérez-Stable points out, without sugar there could be no Cuba, but there is no benefits to sugar without the U.S. market. The importance of social classes was also paramount, especially the unionized working class.

On a more political level, Pérez-Stable discusses the anti-Platt politics and the implications of the Constitution of 1940. According to Pérez-Stable, "The Constitution of 1940 reestablished democracy and reflected a social equilibrium: it legitimized the rights of labor, proscribed latifundia, and assigned the state a central role in the economy while proclaiming the sanctity of private property (Pérez-Stable, p 43)." The hegemonic U.S. had lost its Platt amendment that had put Cuba in a position of "mediated sovereignty" since 1901, but with the sugar quotas, a relationship of dependence was still in existence.

The Cuba That Might Have Been

Pérez-Stable concludes the first chapter of The Cuban Revolution with a section entitled: "The Cuba That Might Have Been". She talks about how the transformation of monoculture appeared to be in the future, how U.S. capital was on the rise into Cuba, how tourism was booming into a significant new industry, and how a few other industries were in a position likely to succeed in the 1960s. In a quick change of direction, Pérez-Stable doubts the likelihood of successful national capitalist development and stable representative democracy. Despite the claims made in Jorge Silva's conclusion that Pérez-Stable believed stable democracy would have been probable, Pérez-Stable makes it clear that the positive economic trend that Cuba seemed to be following, would not have, "fostered...

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