Fidel Castro: Hero or Despot?

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Fidel Castro was dictator of Cuba during the years of 1959 up until 2008 when he resigned from being president due to health issues. He took power after the Cuban Revolution. He is a complicated character in history at best, with most of the world having differing views about his leadership style and the way that he has ran Cuba for almost 50 years. The great majority opinion of the former Cuban dictator in the United States is one that is unfavorable and negative, often placing Castro in a harsh category that has held the names of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini and not only in the United States but also in many parts of Latin America. A majority of citizens in Cuba during the revolution supported Castro in his rise to control and power. He has been seen as a savior in their country, freeing them from the former leader Fulgencio Batista.Across the world, he has become a hero and inspiration for many of the poor through his revolution and reform in Cuba. These variations in opinion of Fidel Castro prompted a question to explore what his true intentions were for his country of Cuba and its people. What were his motives for the revolution, which may influence whether he deserves the praise or the criticism which he has been granted to him for many years across the world. What did Castro hope to gain through the Cuban Revolution and did he achieve what he set out to accomplish through his leadership and power? Were his motivations for gaining complete control of his country? Were they for beneficial reasons, or did he have a more sinister agenda for taking total control? Did he see himself as a hero and champion for his people? Did he see himself as acting in the best interests of the Cuban people?INTRODUCTIONWho is Fulgencio Batista? Well he was called El Hombre, “the Man,” and for 30 years he

Running Head: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolutionwas one of Cuba’s most controversial leaders. It took Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution to unseat/overthrow him. Fulgencio Batista was born on January 16, 1901 in Banes, Cuba to Belisario Batista Palermo and Carmela Zaldívar González, they were both Cubans who fought for independence in Spain. Batista joined the army in 1921 as a private. Due to his hard work anddedication to the army, he became a sergeant in 1932. Since he became such a big hero and at such a young age, he led officers in a rebellion against dictator Gerardo Machado in alliance witha bunch of students and labor leaders. Later, he got together with the U.S. ambassador, Sumner Welles, to force the resignation of the president Ramón Grau San Martín. By then, Batista became the strongman and he was elected president himself in 1940. Even though he had the support of the U.S., many Cubans were against him and no longer wanted him to be president. Batista later on in life died of a heart attack on August 6, 1973, at Guadalmina, near Marbella, Spain, and ironically two days before, a team of assassins from Castro’s Cuba were carrying out a plan in order to assassinate him. (Fulgencio Batista (1901-1973). (n.d.)). Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926 near Birán in Cuba’s eastern Oriente province to AngelCastro. He was an immigrant from Spain, and he was a sugarcane farmer in a locality that had long been dominated by estates of the U.S.-owned United Fruit Company. While married to his first wife, Angel Castro started to have an affair with Lina Ruz González. They got married and together they had seven children; Fidel was one of them, and Raúl, who later became his brother’s chief associate in Cuban affairs, was another. Fidel Castro attended Roman Catholic boarding schools in Santiago de Cuba and then the Catholic high school Belén in Havana, where he did very well when it came to academics and sports. In 1945, he entered the School of Law of the University of Havana, where there were many organized violent gangs sought to advance a mixture of romantic goals, political aims, and personal careers. Castro associated with a gang

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Running Head: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolutioncalled the Union Insurreccional Revolucionaria. In 1950, Castro graduated with a doctorate in law. After his graduation in 1950, Castro began to practice law and later then became a member of the Cuban People’s Party (called Ortodoxos). He became their candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives from a Havana district in the elections for June 1952. Castro was hugely popular when he overthrew the former dictator Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959 (which was the ending of the Cuban Revolution). It has also been estimated that the CIA attempted to assassinate Castro 638 times while he was president of Cuba. (Britannica, T. E., 2018, December 10). TIMELINE OF EVENTS ON THE CUBAN REVOLUTIONBatista had such a huge support from the U.S. government, a former soldier and Cuban dictator from 1933 to 1944, who seized power for a second time in 1952. After Castro and a group of followers, including Che Guevara (1928-1967), landed in Cuba to unseat the dictator in December 1956, the U.S. continued to back Batista. Cuban support for Castro’s revolution, grew in the late 1950s, due to his charisma and nationalistic rhetoric, but also because of increasingly rampant corruption, greed, and brutality within Batista’s government. This reality forced the take away the support they had for Batista and begin a search in Cuba for an alternative to both the dictator and Castro; unfortunately it failed. On January 1, 1959, Batista and a number of his supporters ran away from Cuba and fled to the Dominican Republic. Many Cubans (and thousands of Cuban Americans in the U.S.) celebrated the end of Batista’s reign. Castro and his band of guerrilla fighters triumphantly entered Havana on January 7. (Batista forced out by Castro-led revolution. (n.d.)). Cubans love anniversaries, and on December 2nd marks one of its greatest milestones: the 62th anniversary of the secret landing of Granma, the boat/yacht that

Running Head: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolutionbrought Fidel, Che, Raúl and 79 other non-trained guerrillas to start the revolution in 1956 and initiated his de facto insurgency with a fruitless assault on the Moncada Barracks. (The Cold WarMuseum. The Cuban Revolution of “1959” (n.d.)). Che describes it as “less a landing than a shipwreck,” and only a few men made it to the Sierra Maestra—but it began the campaign that would, in a little over two years, bring down the Cuban government and reshape world politics. (Perrottet, J. P., 2016, October 01).HOW CASTRO WAS GOOD/BAD FOR CUBAGood: The Castro model of socialism can point to achievements as well. Despite its scant resources, Cuba has fashioned education and health care systems that would be the envy of far richer countries. Illiteracy has been eradicated, while life expectancy at birth in Cuba is about thesame as in the US, despite healthcare spending per capita one 20th the size of that of its giant neighbour. The key has been a localised system of medicine, that puts a heavy emphasis on preventive treatment. More broadly, Castro has given Cuba a real sense of national identity. In this he has been unwittingly helped by the US, whose 45 years of persecution of Cuba have served to strengthen, not weaken, the regime. Bad: Castro was hugely popular when he took power from the former dictator Fulgencio Batista. However, “Socialism or Death” has been nothing but suppression of personal and political freedoms of the people. Cuba adopted the Soviet model of development, and the Soviet Union later collapsed. Since 1991 the country has tried to recover and worked on economic liberalisation, and encouraged investment from Europe,Canada, Latin America and recently China. However, the country is struggling with trying to “free up the system without undermining the monopoly of technology and information on which the regime rests” (Cornwell, R., 2011, September 22).

Running Head: Fidel Castro and the Cuban RevolutionHOW DOES CUBA’S ECONOMY COMPARE WITH LATIN AMERICA? / GLOBALVIEWS ON CASTRO AND CUBA“A lack of reliable statistics, and the socialist organisation of the economy, make comparisons difficult. The CIA reckons that Cuba’s GDP, on a purchasing power parity basis, was about $26bn (£14bn) in 2002, implying per-capita income of about $2,300. The UN’s Human Development Report suggests a GDP per capita of $3,600 in 2004. This still compares with $6,230 for Mexico in 2003, according to the World Bank, $4,360 for Chile and $3,860 for Argentina. Among its near neighbours, Cuba comes in below Jamaica but above the Dominican Republic, and far above Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere.” (Cornwell, R., 2011, September 22). Fidel Castro ends his long tenure as president of Cuba with international opinion on the question of whether his leadership has been good or bad for Cuba. While Americans have a negative perspective of Castro, reactions in many Latin American countries are far more favorable to the longtime Cuban leader. The Pew Global Attitudes survey in the spring of 2007, for example, found that pluralities in Bolivia (42%), Brazil (39%), Argentina (39%), and Peru (38%) think Castro has had a positive effect on his country.Opinion in Canada is also positive towards Castro, with 44% saying that his leadership has been good for Cuba, the highest percentage among the nine countries surveyed on Castro. But there are also with 36% saying he has been bad for his country. Criticism of Castro in Latin America is most intense in Mexico (61% negative vs. 17% positive) and Venezuela (55% negative vs. 26% positive), where clear majorities see his leadership as harmful to his country. Chile is the only other country in Latin America where the balance of opinion is more negative (46%) than positive (23%). Overall, In all nine countries surveyed on the question, more people say

Running Head: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolutionconditions in Cuba will improve after Castro than say they would worsen, although in four countries (Canada, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil) a plurality expresses the view that Castro’s death would not change things much. Brazil is the most pessimistic country, with 24% saying conditions would deteriorate in Cuba after Castro died, but that was still less than the 26% that say that things there would improve. Only 9% of Americans say conditions in Cuba would worsen after Castro’s death, the lowest number of all countries surveyed. (Author, N. 2015, June 01).CONCLUSIONS/SOLUTIONSIn conclusion, it’s very hard to come up with actual solutions for Cuba since it’s been shaped by the Castro’s for more than 50 years. Now that Fidel Castro, died in late 2016 and RaúlCastro is retiring from the presidency. Cuba is about to be governed by someone other than a Castro for the first time since 1959. Miguel Díaz-Canel is Cuba’s new president and he swore in as president on April 19, 2018. Cuba’s new president has promised to modernize the country’s economy and make the government more responsive to its people, even as he pledged to uphold the values of the country’s socialist revolution. At a functionalist conference centre in Havana, the president read a brief speech which sought to reconcile revolutionary continuity with a recognition of the need for change. He said there would be no “capitalist restoration”, BUT he promised to make better use of the internet and push on with “the modernization of our social and economic model”. (Havana, E. A. 2018, April 19). Hopefully, the new president of Cuba makes the country into a better place. The UDHR plays a huge factor when it comes to Cuba as acountry but first what is the UDHR? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different

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Running Head: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolutionlegal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages. Article 21 #1 states that everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. This relates to Cuba because no one has the right to vote or have a say in Cuba which is a right that every citizen in Cuba should have.REFERENCES1.Author, N. (2015, June 01). Global Views on Castro and Cuba. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from forced out by Castro-led revolution. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2018, from, T. E. (2018, December 10). Fidel Castro. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from, R. (2011, September 22). The Big Question: Has Cuba benefited or suffered under Fidel Castro’s. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from

Running Head: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution Batista (1901-1973). (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2018, from, E. A. (2018, April 19). Cuba’s new leader vows to modernise economy but no return to capitalism. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from, R. (2014, February 07). US: Castro Was Bad for Cuba. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from Cold War Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2018, from, J. P. (2016, October 01). How Cuba Remembers Its Revolutionary Past and Present. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from Declaration of Human Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2018, from

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Fidel Castro: Hero or Despot?. (2019, May 23). Retrieved from