- Cuba, Republic Of
- Following an extended struggle, the 1959 Cuban Revolution saw Fidel Castro’s left-wing movement oust the dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista and announce the adaptation of a Marxist–Leninist program for the island. The Republic of Cuba remains one of the few states on earth still committed to the ideology. In continuously retaining power since 1959, Castro’s Communist Party of Cuba (CPC) continues to defy world trends and pressure from the United States.Though Marxism–Leninism was not confirmed as the official state ideology in Cuba until 1961, little post-revolutionary dust had settled when Castro set the country on the path to communism. With the assistance of his brother, Raúl, and the fabled Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the leader announced in August 1960 the confiscation and nationalization of foreign-owned property and the redistribution of rural plantations among the peasantry. Plans to imprison and exile “undesirables” were also conceived. Soon after, the large-scale nationalization of industry and collectivization of rural plots was ordered, and a gigantic and ultimately successful mass health and education scheme unveiled. The country also struck up close relations with other communist states, in particular the Soviet Union, much to the ire of the United States. It was this, along with the American government’s repulsion at the idea of communism and its support for Batista, which pushed Washington into action. Economic sanctions that still remain in place today were imposed on Cuba, and the infamous April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion was only one of the first failed attempts on Castro’s life by the U.S. government. The October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Cold War almost turned alarmingly hot, was also a direct consequence of Havana’s courting of the Soviet Union that the adoption and survival of Cuban Marxism–Leninism necessitated.Those crises and others safely overcome, Castro and his entourage relentlessly pursued the idea of exporting their revolution abroad, forging close ties with communist groups across the globe and granting economic and military assistance to uprisings in South America and Africa. Domestically, the communist hold on power remained, and remains, secure, owing largely to rapid advances in health and education, but in part as a consequence of the one-party rule that has emerged. This authoritarian system was ratified in the Soviet-style 1976 constitution, which made Castro outright president and de facto dictator. The collapse of the Soviet Union heralded something of an economic emergency in Cuba, given that events in Moscow and the demise of the rest of the Soviet Bloc brought an abrupt halt to many of the trading avenues open to it. As ever, the seemingly indefatigable Castro and his regime have survived, in part due to partial modifications of policy that have allowed controlled private foreign investment and impelled a growing tourist sector.Despite Cuba amounting for the majority part of its existence to little more than a Moscow satellite state, Cuban Marxism has developed relatively organically. Castro’s approach has always been one of a “revolutionary nationalism,” or “Castroism,” that has negated both orthodox communism’s desire to enforce revolutionary theory on the mass population, and its fanatical promotion and enforcement of the central role of the party. It was this independence of thought and interpretation of Marxism that led to early hostility from orthodox Marxists across Cuba and South America, as Castro and his loyalists sought to prove that a revolutionary vanguard group, in this case the “July 26th Movement,” could guide the masses toward revolution without being part of a formal Marxist–Leninist party. Informed by the Marxism of his cohort Guevara, Castro’s vision of communism for Cuba cited the adoption of military arms as the foremost catalyst for revolutionary change, and looked to circumvent the traditional economic stages on the road to socialism by engendering in the masses a sense of shared moral purpose and patriotic pride. Only once the revolution and regime had been consolidated did Castro look to establish a vanguard party in the form of the CPC.
Historical dictionary of Marxism. David Walker and Daniel Gray . 2014.