Communism In Cuba

     The year is 1959 and the place is Cuba. It is January 1st and Batista, the
president of Cuba has just fled the country fearing Fidel Castro, a Cuban
revolutionary who mounted a rebel force called the 26th of July Movement against

Batista. Castro assumes power on the 16th of February and establishes a
dictatorship. Communist Rule In Cuba So far, the Soviet leader, Khrushchev is in
question of what political track Castro is deciding to take. Russia themselves
have only one connection with Fidel which is his brother Raul who is no doubt a
full communist. The Communist Party of Cuba at this time has no contacts with

Castro quite yet. Unfortunately, Raul never showed his true feelings for
communism to his brother, Fidel. This causes quite a predicament for the Soviet

Union to make them seen and heard by Cuba. Smartly, Russia sends Anastas

Ivanovich Mikoyan, who held business contacts in the US, to the states as a
guest of the Russian ambassador. Fidel hears of Mikoyan’s arrival in the US
and invites him to visit Cuba. Although Mikoyan is traveling throughout the
island, looking things over, Castro still has not identified himself as a

Communist quite yet. In May of 1960, diplomatic relations between Russia and

Cuba are established following Mikoyan’s visit to the island. One reason why

Cuba has turned to Russia is because the US had cut off their oil supplies and
imposed an economic embargo on the island because of the naturalization of US
owned companies and citizens by the Cuban government. This calls for a massive
oil shipment from the Soviets but unfortunately, Russia was unable to handle
such a demand because of their limited overseas shipping capabilities.

Subsequently, Russia puts an order for extra oil tankers from Italy, a
capitalist country. When Italy agrees to the business proposition, the US is
infuriated that another capitalist country was willing to help a communist
country. Italy saw it as nothing more than an opportunity to make extra money,
regardless of opposing economic systems. Back in Cuba, Castro has begun to make
enemies for himself. The many policies he has instilled angered many who fought
beside him in the revolution to overthrow Batista and many didn’t approve of
the socialist reforms he made such as the naturalization of businesses and his
collectivization of agriculture. Castro felt he needed protection against the

United States and because Cuban forces mainly used small arms and guerilla
warfare, Russia sent in tanks, artillery and attack planes as well as
instructors on how to use the new technologies. The former Russian ambassador in

Cuba was then replaced after Khrushchev soon realized that he worsened relations
with Cuba instead of bettering them. A journalist replaced him by the name of

Alekseyev who was friendly with Fidel and his brother, Raul. Alekseyev was seen
to be much better suited for his position and worked well with the Cuban
government because he was already known and trusted by them. By the early

1960’s, Castro has openly endorsed Communism with his many appointments of
communist leaders in key positions of the Cuban government. As time, went on,

Cuba became increasingly dependent on military and economic aid provided by the

Soviet Union. Russia made up much of the Cuban trade interactions including the
purchase of sugar and nickel. The American government became aware of Cuba’s
growing success and began to wonder if Cuba would act as an example of
successful Socialism, persuade other countries in the Western Hemisphere to
revert to a socialist form of government or even serve as a base for
anti-American propaganda. The United States was more threatened than ever by
this socialist island nation on the rise. The Cuban Missile Crisis The date is

October 14th, 1962. U.S. spy planes are making a pass over Cuba, particularly,
an area where much activity is spotted. A Soviet-managed construction site is
visible and photographs are taken of the site. It is soon confirmed that the
first of many medium/intermediate range ballistic missiles have been spotted.

Frantically, President Kennedy secretly meets with his advisory staff to
question the approach. On October 22, Kennedy announces a naval blockade aimed
at preventing offensive missile weaponry into Cuba on Russian ships. Inspections
of ships in Cuba by U. S. personnel were also made. The Russian strategy was to
install missiles in Cuba without the Americans knowing it. They would then
discover them only to find that it is too late to act upon it. The Soviet Union
saw installing missiles in Cuba as a very wise course of action seeing that US
missiles were stationed in Italy, Turkey as well as West Germany which were
pointed towards mother Russia. Also, even if the US would try to neutralize the
missile installations in Cuba, they would not be capable of neutralizing all of
them. The main objectives for the Soviet Union were to prevent any type of
invasion by the United States and to stabilize the "balance of power."

Something that both the US and the Soviet Union shared was their fright of world
war and even nuclear war. This is arguably the only time in history where the
threat of nuclear war is possible. Things began to become very tense for both
sides. President Kennedy became aware that the American army is pressuring the

US government to use force against Cuba. This situation escalates so much that
the president feels he is in danger of being overthrown by his own military. The
exchange of messages between Khrushchev and Kennedy begin to become more
frequent as tension rose. A final demand was made against the Soviet Union to
dismantle the missiles immediately. Both sides wanted to end the argument
peacefully and to avoid war. Word came from the Soviets that they were willing
to take down the missiles in Cuba if the US promised that they would not invade

Cuba. Kennedy agreed to the terms but wanted an inspection team to verify the
dismantling of the missiles. During the evacuation of Soviet missiles, a

American U-2 spy plane was shot down by the orders of Castro which caused much
commotion in the states. This caused a total outpour of negative propaganda
towards the Cubans and the Soviets. Afterwards, though diplomatic relations with
the Soviets and the US began to settle, relations with Cuba and Russia began to
worsen. The Cuban government saw the dismantling of the missiles to be a"moral defeat" for the Soviet Union. Wisely, the man who jumpstarted the

Soviet-Cuban relationship, Mikoyan, was once again called upon and sent back to

Cuba to discuss matters with Castro. Once the disputes were settled with Cuba,
and Mikoyan returned to Russia, Khrushchev decided to write Castro a letter
pertaining to his feelings on the recent crisis. He mentions the main objective
of keeping Cuba a socialist country was successful in which no threat of
invasion is posed towards the island nation. The Aftermath of the Crisis In the
late 1960’s, Castro focused on revamping the agricultural system in Cuba. His
primary objective was to dominate the international sugar market with modern
machinery and technology. Because of the blockade on Cuba, the world sugar
prices suffered much inflation but returned to normal after other countries
elevated their sugar production to meet the demand. Cuba established a goal to
produce ten million tons of sugar crop by the year 1970, which marked Lenin’s

100th birthday. Khrushchev mentions that Kennedy was a great loss for the

Americans and identified him as a true "statesman." He also feels that if he
lived through his term, that relations between the Soviet Union and the United

States would have been better because Kennedy wouldn’t have allowed the US to
be defeated in Vietnam in the later years to come. I feel that the Cuban missile
crisis served not only as another example of how nuclear war is in fact possible
but also allowed interaction between opposing systems of government that were
both seeking to expand their influence on third world countries. For Russia,
they have succeeded in guaranteeing that Cuba would not be invaded but they have
compromised their balance of power with the United States for those missiles
served as the only nuclear threat to the states where as the US had missiles
positioned in various places in Europe and the Middle East all pointed towards
the Soviet Union. Khrushchev has also lost face with China where they see him as
a coward in retreating. The people of the United States saw this as their own
victory with the removal of the nuclear threat.


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Foreign Policy Since World War II: Imperial and Global- Second Edition. Boston,

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