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Cuba: Prospects for democracy

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Evelyn V.
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  1. Introduction.
  2. Colonial past and the struggle for independence.
  3. The Cuban Revolution.
  4. Lack of democratization and prospects for democracy.
  5. Conclusion.

Cuba, largest and most western island of the West Indies. For most of its past, Cuba was the wealthiest island of the Caribbean due to its fertile soil and abundant sugar and tobacco production. Its strategic location and wealth of resources contribute to a long history of external intervention, first as a Spanish colony and later on as an American client state. Throughout its history, Cuba has been exploited for its resources. After the Spanish-Cuban-American War American imperialism dictated Cuban life. Politics and economics were dependent on United States policies. The extent of American intervention on the island damaged Cuba's ability to establish a successful democratic government. Authoritarianism and widespread resentment arose eventually leading to the Cuban Revolution and the installation of Fidel Castro and because had to overcome obstacles.

[...] This excluded a substantial minority and created room for conflict and dissent. (Azicri 18- 19, Dominguez 54-56) Moreover, the Cuban political system was organized by groups cutting across socioeconomic lines. The politics of incumbency proved volatile for Cuba since there were no specific social or economic guidelines to determine party support. Thus, two major cleavages arose determined by whether one was in favor of or in opposition to Fulgencio Batista. Ruling first through puppets, Batista was elected president in 1940. [...]


[...] Thus, American interference in Cuba's struggle for independence was largely based on self interest and set the stage for years of U.S. economic exploitation and political domination of Cuba. (Azicri 10-15) Despite years of struggle for freedom, the Cubans played no role in the discussion leading to the Treaty of Paris (1898) between the United States and Spain; it was mainly a resolution, ending the war, reached upon by the two world powers without the input of the affected party. [...]


[...] In order for a popular uprising to triumph citizens most realize that their participation in crucial in a democratic transformation. The media and other independent means of communication, may also serve as a vital factor in encouraging and developing political participation and instilling a sense of political efficacy in the Cuban people. (Lopez 34-35) Conclusion All in all, Cuba's future is uncertain. It is difficult to predict what will occur when Fidel Castro passes away because there is no clear mechanism for political succession. [...]

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