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What role did Fidel Castro play in the Cuban Revolution? Show more Show less
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Fidel Castro was the Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and the President of Cuba from 1976 to 2008. Castro led the 1959 Cuban Revolution, which ousted the U.S backed military-dictator Fulgencio Batista. Under Castro, Cuba became a single-party communist state in which most industries were entirely nationalized. Castro played various roles in the Cuban Revolution and the formation of Cuba's economic and political system, with many of his educational and healthcare related reforms still being evident in the nation's current government.

Cuban Economy Show more Show less

To what extent did Fidel Castro transform the one-crop economy of Cuba?
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Castro inherited a weak economy and made the best out of the situation

When Castro came into power, the economy was very weak. There were also many social and political pressures. Castro made the best out of the situation which allowed the economy to survive and be as best as it could.

The Argument

Many historical economic challenges existed in Cuba. Castro inherited a weak one-crop economy mixed with the racial scars of slavery. It was very difficult to get capital to invest in infrastructure and welfare. These historic and continuing challenges led Castro to adapt a centrally planned economy where state ownership dominated because he perceived this system as the best solution. Another challenge occurred after Castro won the presidency against the former president Fulgencio Batista. Batista and his associates fled the country after their loss, stealing millions of pesos from the national bank and the treasury. This incident also limited the country's ability to public spending and private investments.[1] During Castro’s presidency, the other challenge was the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Not only the U.S. was the main importer of Cuban goods before the embargo, but Cuba imported 95% of capital goods and 100% of its spare parts from the United States. Cuba’s economic challenges compounded when the Soviet Union, the later ally to Cuba, disintegrated in 1991. After 1991, Cuba lost 85% of trade and investments, and the GDP plummeted 35%. In light of these conditions, Castro did his best in saving the economy through some internal advancements like in the biotechnology industry as well as through some foreign policy. He made these achievements despite many challenges Cuba had to endure for more than 50 years.[2]

Counter arguments

Fidel Castro worsened the Cuban economy. The economy would have bloomed if he allowed a free market. Opponents describe him as a leader who locked people in socialist prisons and threw away the keys. Free market incentives through capitalism would have allowed economic growth and increased people's living standards. Additionally, being more of a free market country may have changed the nature of the relationship between Cuba and the United States, decreasing the possibility of the detrimental embargo. Castro chose his social ideals at the expense of the economy. [3]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://theconversation.com/cuba-is-poor-but-who-is-to-blame-castro-or-50-years-of-us-blockade-69528
  2. https://theconversation.com/how-fidel-castro-changed-cuba-a-small-island-at-the-centre-of-the-world-69454
  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/fidel-castro-dead-latest-cuba-hero-tyrant-aged-90-a7440686.html
This page was last edited on Thursday, 8 Oct 2020 at 02:16 UTC

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