.. not rule forever, there comes a time when they have to adopt a new ideology. This is a controversial time in the history of Fidel Castro; it is his conversion to Marxism-Leninism after coming to power that makes him unique. The hostility of the United States government towards the Castro regime from 1959 to 1961 drove Castro to seek protection of the Soviet Union and thereby wedding Cuba to the Soviet bloc and expanding Soviet interests into the Western Hemisphere. These new ties with the Soviet Union solidified Castros Marxist belief. Fidelismo, the adaptation of Marxism by Fidel Castro, combined dialectic and idealistic rhetoric with anti-Yankee policies to create the new Cuba (Baradat 312).
Under the Socialist ideology there are three main features, they are, Public ownership of production through nationalized industries or cooperatives, secondly, a welfare state that assures the material well-being of the citizens, and finally, the intention to improve the liberty and well being of all citizens, thus creating a happier, more tranquil social existence. When the dictatorship of the proletariat had replaced the bourgeois rulers, a system that rewarded people according to their work would be established. Through education, material rewards, and the elimination of the worst dissidents from society, the proletariat would grow until it was the only economic class to exist in the society. Mike Harrington wrote, “To sum up, socialism is more than an economic system. It forces a completely new relationship among individuals based on a plentiful supply of material goods.
Socialists argue that the elimination of material hardships will relax human tensions as never before, creating a much more pleasant atmosphere, in which people can live and develop.” (Baradat —) Despite the fact that Castros regime is still hampered by the United States policies the country has still achieved some social progress for its people. Abiding the framework of Marxist-Leninist, based on the assumption that economic factors were the primary human motivation and that history was propelled by struggle among competing social classes. Advances in education, public health, and racial equity have been significant. Fidel Castros work within the socialist framework is also exemplified in the ownership of production. The traditional way to socialize an economy is by nationalization, thus at the same time making everyone a working individual, eliminating tensions between social classes.
Nationalization occurs when the government expropriates- takes over the ownership of- an industry. This was the case in Cuba when Fidel Castro after the 1960 sugar crop was harvested; over 600 sugar cane co-operatives were set up. Their finances were centrally organized, with regional headquarters, technical staff accounts, machine repair shops and so on. The Agrarian Reform Institute usually set up people shops, where basic goods could be bought at reduced prices, up to 15% cheaper. All profits that were made from these co-operatives would be distributed (for the first five years four-fifths of the profits were to be invested into the schools, housing, roads, and so on).
Not only were sugar cane plantations being turned into co-operatives. By April 1961 there were 266 state farms, covering over five million acres. Many of these farms were divided into separate parcels of land. These state-owned farms employed nearly 100,000 workers, and paid $2.11 per day (with free housing, medical care and education). The whole category of private farmer was ignored by this regime.
Banks were also being nationalized, transport and distribution being disrupted and the INRA given all the advantages, they found it both hard to get supplies and to deliver their goods. These difficulties eventually led to food shortages, as well as to the beginning of the black market. By 1967, 70% of Cubas agricultural production, all of its heavy industry, foreign trade, education and culture were state owned. (Sutherland 99) Castros second example of the Socialist thought is the belief that the welfare state assures the material well being of the citizens. The welfare state that can exemplify such a function is one that provides a large number of social programs for its citizens, including social security, publicly supported education, public assistance for the poor, and public health services. Castro was extremely proud of the accomplishments that he made in the area of the welfare state. He gave credit to the elementary measures of justice that the revolution had to adopt- measures in Castros opinion could not be postponed.
Social Security was the first program that Castro claimed as being an overwhelming success. A total of 320 million pesos were outlayed for social security in 1970, compared to 114.7 million in 1958, or pre-Revolutionary Cuba. Likewise, the outlay for public education was 77 million before Castros triumph, and rose to 290.6 million in 1969. Keeping with the welfare state the health care system also flourished. The outlay for public healthcare service increases 210 million pesos in ten years under Castros movement. The total outlay for these three sectors was 213.8 million pesos in 1958, and rose to exceed 850 million in 1970. (Bonachea 320) Castros final features that he exemplified were his intention to improve the liberty and wellbeing of all citizens, thus creating a happier, more tranquil social existence.
This was done through creating equality, making everyone a middle-class worker, or creating a Utopia state. Equality among the masses was to be eliminated by achieving a Utopian state. The Utopian State would desire for equity within the society and from genuine compassion for the masses at the bottom of the social structure. The lavishing sumptuous wealth on some while allowing other to languish in squalor was immoral, since the economy produced enough for all to live comfortably if goods were distributed more evenly. Fidel Castro enacted upon this equal state shortly after the revolution occurred. It is through the two previous conditions of socialism that helped Fidel make the Cuban population relatively equal in most external aspects of life. Through the nationalization of production, no longer did monopolies exist that were owned by an individual family.
With the nationalization of the means of production all money was distributed evenly throughout the country. Also, with the implementation of the welfare state, the population all had free education, medical care, etc. making it readily available to all, not only the elite. Fidel Castro now in his 70s has had to make slight modifications to his political ideology. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Castro has had to modify his Soviet-style socialism.
Although one of the final supporters of Marxism-Leninism, Cubas current deep economic crisis and in the light of the developments in the rest of the Marxist-Leninist world, one wonders how long Castros island of communism can endure blows of this decades hurricane of political change. (Baradat 248) It is thought that Fidel Castro will enjoy political power for one overriding reason, Canada, who is driven by unadulterated profiteering when it comes to Cuba. The billions of dollars that Canada invests into Cuba is a lifeline to Castro, while at the same time being able to thumb their noses at their powerful and envied neighbor, the United States. I feel that the Marxist-Leninist ideology that is worked by Fidel Castro has proven to be too reliant. For 30 years Cuba has been very much dependent on the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, while in economic despair, Fidel Castro turned to the United States to blame for his countries economic problems.
Many well-intentioned Cubans still believe Castros claims that the country lacks sugar and oranges because of the U.S. enacted embargo. Tragically, Cubans believe that any change in policy is good for the country, a victory for Castro. Bibliography Baradat, L. (1997). Political Ideologies: Their Origin and Impact.
New Jersey; Prentice Hall. Bonachea, R. (1972). Cuba in Revolution. New York; Anchor Books.
Sutherland, E. (1969). The Youngest Revolution. New York; The Dial Press. Thomas, H. (1971).
Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom. New York; Harper & Row Books.