The second half of the 20th century saw a great deal of USSR involvement in Cuba economically, politically, and militarily. The USSR contributed large amounts of money, weapons, subsidized goods, and other aid to the Cuban government lead by Fidel Castro. Cuba underwent a great many changes during this time period and many of these changes could not have occurred without communist Russia's intervention in Cuba. Cuba's ties to the USSR only increased as US economic blockades of Cuban goods increased along with Cuba's strategic importance to the USSR. This subject has been a topic of heated debate for many years, given the socialist position of the Cuban government, the fact that Castro continues to remain in power after more than 40 years of rule under constantly changing conditions, and Cuba's importance to world development. However, it is often difficult to discern exactly how Communist Russia's influence has affected Cuba due to the trend towards propaganda rather than truly objective writing when dealing with literature on the subject.
[...] Throughout the cold war period, the USSR provided Cuba with numerous loans, aid, and trade agreements, such as an agreement in 1960 in which the USSR would purchase Cuban sugar at 150% of the world market price, with 20% of that amount coming in hard currency. Oil and petroleum products were also sold and traded to Cuba, which helped the Cuban economy to grow and industrialize. (Pavlov However, although this influx of Soviet goods and currency helped increase the standard of living in Cuba for all Cubans, much more could have been done with this aid. [...]
[...] The USSR was aware of all this, particularly Castro's imprisonment of dissenters, yet, rather than attempting to stop this or at least denounce Castro's policies, the Soviets actually defended and aided Castro's policies. (Pavlov 104) This is not surprising, given that the USSR practiced very similar methods especially as Castro's move towards Russian orthodoxy increased in the 1970s. However, one must not forget that many political prisoners came from those who left Cuba only to be trained by the CIA to attack their former country in the Bay of Pigs invasion. [...]
[...] As Soviet involvement was an integral factor in the implementation of these policies, I believe that it is irresponsible to say that USSR involvement in Cuba has been either generally more detrimental or beneficial for the Cuban populace. Rather, I believe that Soviet involvement in Cuba has brought to light many important aspects of Cuban socialism which are invaluable lessons today, not only for those of the left or right, but for anyone who is interested in government policy. Castro's movement towards socialism arose largely due to Soviet influence. [...]
[...] However, it is important to note that Castro has made little effort to combat the strong sense of machismo in Cuba which is the source of many troubles for women. This feeling of machismo is the source of a feeling of superiority in men in all areas of society, particularly government where women are allowed the freedom to speak, but only along Party lines created by men. Castro's system is one in which women are equal in writing, but unequal in fact. [...]
[...] (Fleites-Lear 347) Quality day care centers, free education, the availability of quality medical attention, the founding of the National Working Group on Sex Education, the decline in fertility and infant mortality rates, and a demographic growth resembling that of developed rather than third-world countries are all things brought about by Castro's reign that have helped spur these changes. (Fleites-Lear 346-348) However, Cuban women still faced many difficulties. Although they were now free to work alongside the men, their workload doubled or even tripled as many men refused to help women with the work of raising children and taking care of the home. [...]
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