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. [...]
[...] (Azicri While the black slaves were crucial for the success of agricultural production, they were feared by the white population. Slaves were often suspected of helping Spain's enemies and subsequently punished for their actions. It was not until 1888 that the institution of slavery was truly condemned although it had officially abolished in 1979. Subsequently, in the first half of the 19th century, several attempts to liberate Cuba from Spain took place. Freed black slaves, such as Jose Aponte, were responsible for some of the revolutionary conspiracies; however, one of the main independence leaders came to be Narciso Lopez. [...]
[...] Meanwhile, President Eisenhower watched from the sidelines with concern for Castro's increasingly communist policies. In an attempt to pressure the revolutionary leader, the American government demanded full payment for the land expropriated by the new Cuban government and eventually suspended the sugar quota, which had allowed for large American purchases of Cuban sugar at above market prices. Castro responded by strengthening ties with the Soviet Union, which purchased “one-fifth of Cuban sugar production,” and later on, half of the Cuban sugar previously bought by the Americans (Keylor; The Twentieth-Century 290). [...]
[...] Such fragmentation made it impossible for the government to impose its rule for an extended period of time; it prevented the development of durable political cleavages, and of a political foundation for a stable party system and democratic government. Furthermore, American government agencies and private enterprises often acted in a decentralized and uncoordinated manner making cohesive and unified politics in Cuba virtually impossible. (Dominguez 12-14) Nonetheless, U.S. imperialism provided for social modernization and economic growth although, heavily reliant on American resources. [...]
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