By Juan Morales


“I saw, moreover, and with fearfulness, that the very same persons who before the Revolution had held high positions (not to mention their sycophants and lickspittles), now held them again….  I could see with my own eyes, then, how all the trash of the past rose to the top again, the waters being once more roiled.  And therefore I began to fear for my life, just as before.”   Reinaldo Arenas



I. Castro’s Application of the “Spirit of Marti” in Modern Cuba


Cuban history, since the turn of the 20th Century, has been one of volatility and domination.  During the periods of Spanish colonization and American influenced governance, the Cuban people have rarely been able to truly experience independent and democratic existence.  Either because of its natural resources or its strategic location, the race to control and utilize the Cuban island has long been an issue of international importance. 

From the era of Columbus’ discovery when Spain was granted sovereignty over Cuba by papal decree, to Jose Marti’s call for independence, to the enactment of the Platt Amendment after Spain’s defeat to the United States, and finally to Castro’s Revolution, the prospect of a free and democratic Cuba has always seemed just out of reach.  Eduardo Moises Penalver characterizes Cuba’s recent history by suggesting that, “The most striking feature of the 1959 revolution, when studied within the broader context of Cuban history, is its ultimate continuity with earlier movements for change in Cuban history.  Indeed, the causes of the Cuban revolution stretch back into the Spanish colonial era; they were nourished by decades of bloody struggle for independence and over a half-century of neo-colonial domination by the United States.”[1]  In each period of Cuban history the particular government in power has had to deal with a people restless over their livelihoods and seemingly discontent over their sense of national pride.   In every instance, subversive organizations and rebellious groups have attempted to undermine the very foundations of power in Cuba.  In building a nation it will always be the government’s charge to deal with opposition and criticism.  Perhaps even more telling is exactly how the government deals with that opposition and criticism.  In Cuba’s case governments have often dealt with the burden of criticism harshly, a tradition that continues to this day.

In particular, it is Spain’s long history in Cuba that has laid the foundation for Cuba’s current political and ideological situation. Loree Wilkerson writes in Fidel Castro’s Political Programs from Reformism to ‘Marxism-Leninism that, “Although the revolution freed Cuba from the bad practices of Spanish colonial administration.”[2] The treatment of Cuba by Spanish colonials fueled the drive of leaders such as Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti.  In turn, the influence of these leaders seems to have served as the catalysts for several revolutions in Latin America.  These revolutions seemed to have been aimed at, ideally, restoring a sense of national pride after long periods of colonial domination.  In many ways Cuba has experienced two revolutions.  Spain’s defeat by the United States in 1898, after Marti’s insurgency gained political support in the United States, signified what was supposed to have been the independence of Cuba.  The Cuban people were eager for the opportunity of self-governance, yet had their hopes and ambitions usurped by American industrial and political interests.  Passage of the Platt Amendment, the carte blanche for U.S. involvement in Cuban affairs, was the quick death for any hope of true Cuban autonomy.  Indeed, according to Tad Szulc, in his book Fidel: A Critical Portrait, even high-ranking U.S. officials acknowledged the significance of the Platt Amendment on Cuban independence. Szulc writes, “Leonard Wood, the last governor-general, wrote President William McKinley that ‘there is, of course, little or no independence left in Cuba under the Platt Amendment.”[3]The spirit of Marti, long a source of inspiration for Cubans, had once again been betrayed.  That betrayal continues to this day in Castro’s Cuba.  The concept of liberty and self-governance championed by Marti served as a primary source of inspiration and support for Castro’s revolution.  Despite that inspiration, Castro’s governance of Cuba has thwarted the spirit of Marti by codifying into law its own self-preservation while simultaneously suppressing the very liberties the revolution served to represent. 

II. Jose Marti and Cuban Nationalism

When we consider the ideals and principles set forth by Marti we can begin to understand his influence.  As has already been written, the history of Marti’s Latin America, and Cuba in particular, had long been one of domination, manipulation, exploitation, and oppression. Whether by means of invasion, colonialism, or imperialism, Marti envisioned a new Latin American zeitgeist of self-reliance and self-governance.  Penalver distinguishes the goal of Cuba’s independence movement, “Unlike the leaders of other Latin American independence movements, the leaders of the Cuban War for Independence sought to not only free Cuban from foreign rule, but also to transform the structure of Cuban society.”[4]  For Marti it was the presence of Spanish interests in Cuba that inspired his vision for a free and culturally independent Cuba.  It is this vision that would seem to have been the genesis for Fidel Castro’s cultural and political revolution. 

            The War of Independence launched against Spain by Marti and his contemporaries had, initially, proved successful.  However, the war for independence eventually began to unravel.  Ana Otero writes that the war’s “…main objective was to gain Cuban sovereignty and independence, but it was impeded by a lack of political organization and cohesiveness.  The Ten Year War, Jose Marti, Cuba’s quintessential hero and poet argued, was ‘lost only through a lack of preparation and unity.” [5] After the death of Marti the rebel army faltered and Spain began a harsh purge of captured rebels and alleged sympathizers.  The atrocities committed by Spain were widely reported in the United States and throughout the world.  Spain’s actions and the struggle for a free and independent Cuba resonated with Americans at the turn of the century. This resonance prompted calls for American intervention.  Though the McKinley administration resisted U.S. intervention in Cuba, after the suspicious explosion of the U.S.S. Maine, intervention proved politically inevitable.  After a brief period of war, on July 17, 1898, Spain surrendered Cuba to the United States and a period of American imperialism began. 

For Castro, and many of the Cuban people, the Spanish-American War had been a lost opportunity of enormous proportions.  While technically achieving independent status, Cuba had simply been transferred from a colonial resource to an imperialist one.  Further exacerbating Cuban resentment was passage of the Platt Amendment by the United States Congress, an amendment providing the United States the naval base at Guantanamo. The U.S. military presence in Cuba has long served as a source of animosity for Cubans, Castro in particular.  As Dan Gardner writes in America’s Thorn in Cuba’s Side, “There is the Guantanamo of history, the pride of an imperial era that became a trip in the Cold War.  There is the Guantanamo of Cuban nationalism, a nagging reminder of colonial humiliations and a symbol of the difficult relationship between the little island and the giant to the north.  This is the Guantanamo that itches under the skin of Fidel Castro.”[6]   The Platt Amendment also secured the right for U.S. intervention whenever it deemed necessary in Cuban affairs.  Though referring generally to Latin America, Richard Goodwin summarizes in Remembering America the harsh reality of Western influence on Latin America and Cuba during the period of Castro’s pending revolution, Goodwin writes, “The countries of Latin America were not emerging from the confused strife of postwar colonial revolutions.  They had been independent for almost two centuries.  But not totally.  The great power to the north had shadowed, sometimes dominated, their evolving societies.  Setting ourselves up as the protector of the continent, we had frequently intervened with private capital, or, occasionally, with military force to advance our own interests.”[7]  In this political environment the right of Cuba, and much of Latin America for that matter, to govern itself according to its own self-interests did simply not exist.

The period of Spanish and American dominance in Cuba had lasting effects on its societal and cultural mores.  In their own way, each system of governance gave rise to its own form of social hierarchy.  For the Spanish it was the governing class and those given exclusive rights to industrial and commercial interests.  The Cuban populace became the fuel running Spain’s colonial exploitation of its own natural resources.  To avoid the risk of complete resentment and rebelliousness of a colonized people, it is necessary to allow some to reap the benefits of their colonization.  Apart from the governing class, there were Cubans who worked with Spain to maintain the status quo, and in so doing, reaped the material and monetary benefits.  Ana M. Otero, a refugee who fled Cuba in 1962, explains that, “Politically, control of the island rested with the captain-general, the father of a small, poorly paid bureaucracy of officials appointed by Spain who expected to gain profits from graft and corruption and return to their country wealthy.  Many, however, stayed in the island and mixed with the criollos.  By the eighteenth, many of these Spaniards residing for generations in Cuba had created their own blend of criollo aristocracy – wealthy land and plantation owners who seldom visited their own homeland.”[8]  Goodwin described the system Otero details as, “social structures which, in almost every Latin country, had allowed a handful of wealthy oligarchs and generals to prosper while the mass of the population was imprisoned in hopeless poverty.”[9] As a result there existed, in Cuba, essentially two societies.  There were the vast majority of Cubans who lived in poverty and for whom the promise of autonomy and democracy simply did not ring true.  And, as Otero and Goodwin suggest, just beneath the strata of the governing elite there arose a class of Cubans who would, for generations, become an entrenched and powerful faction of the social order.

With U.S. intervention in Cuba it is this faction that, under the guise of autonomy, became the ruling elite.  Capitalism, for them, served a dual role.  One the one hand, the laissez-faire aura of U.S. economic policy in the first half of the twentieth century simply permitted them to “capitalize” on their already acquired and inflated material wealth.  The distribution of wealth during this period of Cuban “independence” was highly disproportional.  On the other hand, the perception that Cuba enjoyed independence reinforced the ruling class’ perception that their accumulated, and burgeoning, wealth had been acquired in a completely legitimate manner.  Shortly after its independence from Spain, the Cuban economy was in a state of collapse. For the majority of Cubans the economic hardships were punishing and this period of Cuban “independence” was a volatile time for the island nation.  Otero describes this bleak period by suggesting that, “Cuba’s short period of independence from 1902 to 1959 was marred with U.S. interventions, fractious political groups, incessant rebellions, unfettered public corruption, economic instability, erratic price fluctuations, and a succession of presidents whose terms were characterized by venality, nepotism, incompetence, graft, and despotism.”[10]  As a result of this instability and thus, economic vulnerability, U.S. investment and capital flooded Cuba resulting in its once proud and productive agrarian and industrial sectors becoming whole subsidiaries of U.S. corporations.  As the classic model would suggest, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.  However, the U.S. influence on Cuba went far beyond capitalistic economic policies.  As Cuba became flooded with American nationals and tourists, industrial, and corporate influences, American culture also began to creep its way into the Cuban experience.  In essence, it appeared to many Cubans that the imperialist influences of the United States began to erode away any notion of a Cuban identity. 

III. Castro’s Revolution

            In many ways Castro’s revolution found its genesis in this loss of national identity and pride.  By appealing directly to Marti’s sense of nationalist philosophy, Castro attempted to position himself as Marti’s ideological heir.  Indeed, when tried for his failed attack on the Moncada Barracks and asked who was the “intellectual author” of the attack Castro’s reply was “Jose Marti!”[11]  Castro’s subsequent imprisonment swelled his popularity and Batista eventually released him after mounting public pressure. After his release from prison Castro was exiled to Mexico and immediately began his plot to overthrow the Batista regime.

            It is proper, at this point, to understand that, apart from Marti’s sense of nationalism, Castro had yet to submit to one particular political ideology.  During the early days of Castro’s “Movement” members of the Communist party were excluded.  According to Szulc, Castro himself states, “We didn’t speak of Marxism or communism in those days, but of a social revolution, of a true revolution, of the role of imperialism in our country.”  During his exile Castro outlined a program for Cuba that appeared more socialist than communist; but even then it went undefined. His plan included a distribution of land among peasant families; a drastic reduction in rent prices, public housing to reduce overcrowding, and expanding electricity to areas yet covered.  Appealing to the masses, as his plan clearly intended to do, was part of Castro’s calculated effort to gain popular support for his pending revolution.

            Little purpose is served in recounting the specific details of Batista’s fall and Castro’s victorious revolution except to say that despite an initial puppet government, Castro moved quickly to consolidate his power.  Castro’s intent was to publicly project an image of responsibility and stability for the revolution he had just won.  Outward appearances and actions suggested that Castro’s intent was democratic reform, yet his private actions conveyed an opposite purpose. He purged the nation of Batista supporters and military leaders who were loyal to the old guard.  His fiery and demagogic speeches served to undermine the president and sway public opinion.  Szulc points out that Castro always believed that the, “moderate regime under Urrutia was transitory, unacceptable in the long run as an instrument of the revolution, and this is why he had to create a ‘hidden government’ to move the nation rapidly along the revolutionary road while the unity concept with the Communists was being ironed out.”[12]  In the meantime, to appease the United States Castro promised free elections and asserted that he was in fact not a communist.  He did, however, suggest the caveat that democracy in Cuba would not be possible until the Cuban people were both educationally and healthy enough to appreciate it. 

            To serve his political end, Castro had to really win the hearts and minds of the Cuban people.  At the beginning of the revolution it would appear he had achieved the former.  His revolution and the expulsion of Batista had proven immensely popular.  Everywhere Castro appeared or spoke throngs of people greeted him and held on to his every word.  But to maintain the revolution Castro believed a complete overhaul of the Cuban psyche was also in order.  He believed that for the revolution to truly succeed it was necessary to change the culture of Cuba.  It is imperative to understand that rough transition of circumstances and events that lead to the Cuba of today.  Thus began the systematic process of building a nation by transforming the mindset of its people; thus began Castro’s cultural revolution. 

            For Castro it was not enough that he would govern a nation according to the dictates of his political ideology, the masses had to support the very ideals of revolutionary thought and culture.  According to Roger Reed, in The Cultural Revolution in Cuba, one of Castro’s most influential comrades, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, believed “it was necessary to create socialist “consciousness” through political education and participation in revolutionary activities.”[13]  Castro reiterated that point by stating, “the great task of the revolution is essentially the task of forming the new man… the man of truly socialist consciousness, the man of truly communist consciousness.”[14] To achieve this end it was necessary to erode or abolish support for those existing institutions that still had significant emotional and educational impact on the Cuban people. 

IV. The Shaping of a New Cuban Identity and the New Man

            One of the first steps in this struggle for the very minds of Cubans was to invoke the spirit of Marti and the struggle against colonialism and imperialism.  As Marti became a heroic figure in the struggle against Spain, so Castro positioned himself as the heroic figure in the struggle against Batista and Yankee imperialism.  Because the Cuban people themselves did not fully understand, at that point, the intricacies of Castro’s long-terms plans for Cuba, it was necessary appeal to their baser emotions.  By erecting posters of himself and Guevara throughout Cuba, in their dramatic poses, military uniforms, and gruff appearances, they became symbols of the struggle that the average Cuban could relate to.  Instead of appearing as distant, elitist leaders with little interest in the masses, the constant presence of Castro and Guevara, if even in poster form, gave the impression that the people were being watched and cared for.  This sense of omnipresence would, however, begin to take on a more aggressive and intrusive form as the revolution solidified its grip on power.  Further perpetuating that sense of physical presence were Castro’s infamous long speeches broadcast throughout Cuba via television and radio.  By directly appealing to the people, while also indoctrinating them, Castro further appealed to their sense of nationalism.  For the first time the Cuban people had a leader who spoke to them, who seemingly sought to explain his actions and motives.  And during these “conversations” Castro would remind the people that enemies of the revolution would always try to undermine the progress he sought for them and their livelihoods.  It was this “us against them” mentality that, initially, endeared many of the Cuban people to Castro in the early days of the Cultural Revolution.

Suppression of Informative & Educational Institutions: The Media and Universities

            After Batista’s fall it was an immediate goal of Castro’s government to control those medial outlets once loyal to the deposed dictator.  Castro believed that reactionary elements of the media would begin to manipulate the revolution’s message, and in so doing, rival his direct appeal to the people.  As a result, Castro began to seek suppression of independent and critical journalists.  Newspapers such as Alerta and Puebla, and the radio station, Radio Mambi, were shut down.  Eventually even newspapers not directly associated with Batista, such as Presna Libre and Bohemia, began to feel the pressure of Castro’s demand for conformity.  Castro began to denounce newspapers and journalists who didn’t laude the revolution or criticized what they perceived to be a trend towards restriction and repression of free thought and expression.  To counter criticism Castro would editorialize in Revolucion, the revolution’s official paper, accusing critics of his government as either being traitors of the revolution or supporters of the imperialist powers that had degraded and exploited the Cuban people.[15]

For those that supported Castro and the revolution the accusation that critical journalists were traitors was tantamount to an indictment.  Groups of Castro supporters would often harass and intimidate critical journalists, at times even acting out violently.  After this sense of siege and oppression any notion of a free press began to dissipate.  When pro-Castro journalists took leadership over the Journalists Guild, the guild passed a resolution allowing the inclusion of “coletillas (little tail)” in articles critical of the revolution.  As Szulc writes, the coletillas were “postscript(s) appended at the end of every article, news dispatch, editorial or photograph that happened to disagree with the official line on anything.”[16] 

It should be noted, and this will be discussed in more depth later, that Castro didn’t see these restrictions as censorship per se.  Indeed, none of the basic liberties that he would eventually curtail contradicted Castro’s own concept of freedom and liberty.  As Szulc further writes, “Castro’s view was that only the revolution brought real freedom of the press to Cuba to replace the right-wing biases of the bourgeoisie.”[17]  For Castro the advancement of the revolution, which would bring true freedom and enlightenment to the people, must take priority.  As Castro himself phrased it, “We must explain the fundamental principles of the Revolution, its reason, and its justice; we must discredit enemies of the Revolution, and the arguments of the enemies of the Revolution… And since all information media is in the hands of the Revolution, we should place that formidable power at the service of the formation of a strong revolutionary consciousness in the people, never neglecting this point.”[18]

What we can discern from this statement is that, in essence, for Castro the revolution comes before everything else.  It is a theme that Castro would repeat again and again.  Yet for Castro, swaying public perception through the media was not the only means available to him; nor the only means he intended to exploit.  For the revolution to also succeed it was important for the people to be educated. 

Che Guevara believed that the most pressing task of the revolution “is the political and ideological education of our people.”[19]  For the people to truly support the revolution they had to understand it; they had to understand its goals and principles.  While Castro could directly control primary and secondary education, it was his assault on the university system that warrants discussion.  As with the press, there existed elements within academia that were either associated, or outright loyal, to the Batista regime.  The nature of higher education is to foster ideals, intellectual curiosity, and free thought.  Because academia and the revolution would be competing for the minds of young Cubans it was necessary for Castro to control the university institutions as well.

In 1959 students and professors formed the University Reform Commission.  The purpose of the Commission was to pressure academics and students who had either been affiliated or supporters of Bautista.  Castro was also able to manipulate the election of the Federation of University Student’s (FEU) presidential election.  With the Commission solidly behind him and puppet control of the FEU Castro’s control over universities was almost complete.  There still existed the University Council, a body comprised of faculty-elected members that served as the highest governing university body.  Castro sought to control this body by suggesting that two of its members were counter-revolutionaries and demanding their ouster.  When the body refused to oust the two members the FEU demanded the resignation of the entire University Council and, when it refused, the council was dismissed and replaced with pro-Castro members.[20] 

So that there would be no mistake as to who truly ran the university system, in 1960 Castro created the Higher Council of Universities.  The Minister of Education, who reported directly to Castro, ran the Higher Council.  Finally, in 1962 all institutions of higher learning were nationalized.  In the end, Castro’s efforts to gain control of all elements of education and higher learning had been successful.  The education of all young Cubans could now be steered by the revolution’s ideology and further indoctrinate support for Castro and his government. Education would now become another tool in which Castro could manipulate the masses.

Suppression of Cultural Institutions: Literature and Cinema, The Church

Castro also used the media and arts as a means of manipulating the Cuban psyche.  By establishing the Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) Castro sought to directly control what images and concepts were presented to the Cuban people in the day’s most popular format.  The ICAIC, according to the law establishing it, explained its purpose by suggesting that, “The cinema constitutes, by virtue of its characteristics, an instrument of opinion and formation of individual and collective consciousness and it can contribute to the depth and clarity of the revolutionary spirit and help to sustain its creative vitality… The cinema is the most powerful and suggestive media of artistic expression and it is the most direct and extensive vehicle of education and the popularization of ideas.”[21]

It was the purpose of the ICAIC to produce films that idolized the revolutionary and idealized the revolution.  The ICAIC also produced documentaries on various subjects pertaining to the revolution.  One of its most famous documentaries, “Muerte al Invasor,” dealt with the Bay of Pigs and the successful turning back of the U.S. supported invasion.  It was through these films and documentaries that the revolution transformed, for many Cubans, from an abstract concept of governmental and ideological change to a collective movement they were all engaged in.  By personifying the revolution, be it through documentaries of Castro and the other revolutionaries, or by depicting the revolution as a means of change and culture in the lives of fictional, yet relatable, individuals, the ICAIC played an integral part in the Cultural Revolution.  The lines between art and propaganda, as a means of cultural transformation, are not new.  And while film may have been the most successful means of communicating with the masses, Castro also extended his control over literature and the press.

With his control of the various institutions that vied for the minds and intellect of the Cuban people, Castro had positioned himself as the sole source of information and intellect available.  His omnipotence in all forms of Cuban society assured that only his interpretation and perceptions of thought and ideals were perpetuated and adhered to.  In what they heard, read, and learned the Cuban people were being served a form of culture manufactured specifically to Castro’s taste and preferences.  They were being told that the revolution would bring to them what colonialism and imperialism had not, a sense of nationalistic pride and freedom.  Yet there remained one institution Castro had yet to completely control.  And in many ways it was it seems likely that this institution would serve as his biggest challenge.  It is one thing to attempt to control the thoughts and ideals of a people, in essence to have sway over their mind and body.  It is quite another to attempt to replace that sense of spirit and soul an individual feels in relation to their faith.  Castro, however, was attempting to not only build a new nation, but to change a culture long oppressed and long exploited.  To do so Castro wanted the Cuban to people to not only see him as their leader, he wanted them to see him as their source of inspiration.  To achieve that end it would be necessary to alter that long entrenched institution filling that void, it would be necessary for Castro to challenge the church.

Initially, Castro was compelled to co-exist with the Catholic Church.  An institution so ingrained into the social consciousness was just to strong an institution to disturb.  Ironically, it was the Church that fired the first shot.  As Castro’s Marxist ideology became more apparent, the Church began to resist.  The Church began to disseminate articles making it clear that a Marxist/Communist government contradicts the freedoms and liberties individuals are entitled to.  According to Reed, the church became more vocal in its defiance of Castro’s revolution.  He writes that the Archbishop of Santiago, Enrique Peres Serantes, was blunt when he stated, “The great enemy of Christianity is Communism.”[22]  In 1960 the Catholic Bishops released a circular stating that, “Catholicism and Communism correspond to two conceptions of man and the world that are totally opposed, and which may never be reconciled.”[23]  Upon release of the circular Castro began to crack down on priests who articulated it to their parishes.  As a result, priests were detained and threatened.  A television program produced by the Catholic Church was eventually shut down and the program’s director accused of promulgating anti-government propaganda. 

Castro accused the clergy of being a tool of imperialists, specifically the United States.  After the Bay of Pigs clergy men and women were placed under house arrest and churches were routinely occupied by the military and vandalized.  Because of this persecution many of the clergy either fled Cuba or were deported.  Castro would eventually nationalize all private schools, including parochial ones.  As Wilkerson writes,  …aside from incidents of harassment of Church officials, which may have been arranged by the regime, no direct government intervention took place until Catholic radio and television programs were closed in September, 1960.  This was followed by the closing of Catholic periodicals which had adopted a critical attitude toward the regime or Communism.”[24]  Slowly, the Church began to lose its influence and Cubans began to attend services less and less.  In part it was done out of loyalty, many Cubans believing that Castro represented their interests better than the Church.  Yet many others began attending mass less and less out of fear of oppression or retaliation.  By creating such a hostile environment Castro was able to significantly alter the influence of an already crippled church. 

With the Church out of the way Castro had really neutered most aspects of cultural influence apart from his own government.  Szulc characterizes the effects by noting that, “Castro’s handling of Cuban intellectuals, writers, and artists, forcing the country’s cultural community into an ideological straitjacket and depriving it of the last ounce of freedom in the sense accepted in the non-totalitarian world, was one of his masterful exercises in power, intimidation, and manipulation.”[25]  In Castro’s Cuba there was little room for indoctrination not in line with the revolution’s goals and ideals.  The indoctrination was perpetuated in line with the government’s future intention for political domination and survival.  Blas Roca, the Secretary General of the Partido Socialista Popular (PSP), the political party of Castro’s government, put Castro’s logic this way, “We cannot permit the reactionaries, the agents of imperialism, and the great property owners, who, for some wear religious clothes, to use the temple which is of prayer and pulpit… to carry out counterrevolutionary propaganda, to serve Yankee imperialism against Cuba, to sow confusion in the Cuban people, and to oppose revolutionary measures.”[26]  

The Ideology of the Revolution and the Emergence of the New Man

Prior to Castro’s ascension to the presidency, during the puppet term of President Manuel Urrutia, it was not entirely clear whether or not Castro intended to set up a communist regime.  Many of the principles Castro claimed as inspiration for the revolution, including those championed by Marti, seemed in accord with the concept of civil liberties and democracy.  Castro advocated national autonomy, self-governance, and civil liberties for the Cuban people. Yet it became quickly apparent that Castro’s interpretation of self-governance meant that he, as personification of the Cuban people, governed according to his sole discretions.  Castro may have also championed self-expression and independence, but such expression and independence would not be tolerated when in conflict with the revolution.  Richard Goodwin, a top advisor in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, recalls that, “Even Castro, from his base in the Sierra Maestra, had found it desirable to proclaim to devotion to democracy, lest his revolution be drained of popular support or be aborted by American intervention.”[27]  Conversely, Castro’s call for universal health care, the elimination of illiteracy, public housing, universal education, and the right to work seemed to suggest his preference for a socialistic society.  During the period of Urrutia’s presidency the United States could not discern exactly what to expect from Castro’s revolution and what long-term impact it would have on U.S. interests and dominance in the Western Hemisphere. 

It was during this period that Fidel Castro visited the United States.  Just prior to his arrival, in a speech in Havana on April 9th, 1959, Castro said, “We want that when elections come… that everybody be working here… that all the children have a school… that all families have access to hospitals… that every Cuban know his rights and his duties, that every Cuban know how to read and write… Then, we can have truly democratic elections.”[28]  This speech, so close to his American visit, served as notice that Castro’s trip would be different from past Latin American leaders.  While not officially received as a head of state, Castro met with Vice President Nixon and several cabinet members and members of Congress.  “’We are not Communists,’ that if there happened to be any Communists in his government, ‘their influence is nothing,’ and that he did not agree with communism”[29] is how Szulc describes Castro’s stance during his U.S. visit. And yet, despite these denials and denunciations, Castro’s social reforms began to raise the concerns of the United States and other democratic nations. 

            As relations between Cuba and the United States became further strained over economic and property interests, Castro began to see the Soviet Union as a more practical economic and ideological partner. Castro’s 1st and 2nd Agrarian Reform Laws contributed greatly to this strained relationship.  The 1st Agrarian Reform Law sought to break up the large monopoly on Cuban land acquired, over time, by wealthy landowners and foreign corporations.  U.S. corporations who had land confiscated protested to the United States government that Cuba’s compensation for the land was far below its fair market value.  The U.S. government demanded the Cuban government fairly and promptly compensate the corporations for the seized land.  Instead, Cuba enacted the 2nd Agrarian Reform Law.  Eduardo Penalver describes the law, enacted on October 3, 1963, as, “much more far-reaching than the first.  While the first law left medium-sized private farms more or less intact, the second law sought a wholesale nationalization of virtually all Cuban agriculture.  The reach of the second reform law reflected the radicalization of the revolution that occurred in the period between 1959 and 1963.”[30]  As the United States became increasingly frustrated and alarmed at Cuba’s ongoing slide toward socialism, Cuba sought to strengthen its Soviet ties for both economic and political support.

According to Jason Bell, in his article Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act, the United States also played a large part in pushing Castro toward Soviet support.  Bell points out that, “In May, 1960, the United States ordered U.S. oil companies in Cuba to refuse to refine Soviet crude because they were concerned that Cuba was turning toward socialism.  When the refineries refused to process Soviet oil, Castro responded by nationalizing the refineries.”[31]  The fact is that as Cuba came to rely on Soviet oil and its promise to purchase Cuba’s entire sugar crop, Castro began to more openly embrace the communist political ideology and antagonize the United States with Soviet support.  David Shamberger, writing in the Boston College International & Comparative Law Review suggests that, “Early in the Castro years, Cuba and the Soviet Union developed a relationship of comradery and cooperation.  Initially, Communist party members gradually assumed government positions.  Next, Cuba and the Soviet Union completed their first commercial transaction in 1960 when Cuba received Soviet oil in exchange for sugar.”[32]  The seizure of U.S. oil refineries, the decision to no longer buy Cuban sugar, and the Agrarian Reform laws collectively played a part in the demise of American-Cuban relations.  According to Jason Bell, the Kennedy administration, after tolerating as much Cuban defiance as politically practical, announced the trade embargo. “On February 6th, 1962, President Kennedy imposed a formal trade embargo between the United States and Cuba, issuing Presidential Proclamation No. 3447.  President Kennedy reasoned that such an embargo was necessary because the Cuban government was at odds with the “principles and objectives of the Inter-American system,” and Cuba’s alignment with the Soviet powers posed a security risk for the United States as well as the Western Hemisphere.”[33]  After the imposition of the embargo Cuban reliance on the Soviet Union was total.  If Castro had ever truly intended democratic reforms in the U.S. tradition the imposition of the embargo ended any such possibility.  To maintain Soviet support Castro slowly adopted the Marxist policies and ideologies consistent with the Soviet model.  Finally, on December 1st, 1961, Castro declared what ideology the political party of the revolution would be based.  Castro declared that the party would have a, “’Marxist-Leninist program adjusted to the precise objective conditions of our country,’” that this would no longer be a ‘secret,’ and that ‘today we shall see to it that to be a Communist is a merit.’”[34] 

Though Castro’s revolution had, for some time, simply existed as an ideology in and of itself, the revolution had promised a resurgence of Cuban nationalism, self-governance, and full autonomy. These were themes and concepts easily understood by a weary and uneducated Cuban people.  Apart from the lines of political ideology, Castro would also define the revolutions in terms of social welfare.  In a telling speech Castro defined his revolution as, “The right of the peasants to land; the right of workers to the fruit of their work; the right of children to education; the right of the ill to medical and hospital attention; the right of youth to work; the right of students to free, experimental, and scientific education; the right of Negroes and Indians to the ‘full dignity of man’; the right of women to civil, social, and political equality; the right of the aged to a secure old age; the right of intellectuals, artists, and scientists to fight, with their works, for a better world.”[35]   In any event, Castro would explain his politically ideological transformation by pointing out that, “The more experience we have of a revolutionary reality and the class struggle in the process of revolution, the more we are convinced of the absolute truth of the writings of Marx and Engels and Lenin’s brilliant interpretation of scientific Socialism.”[36] 

Just how deep Castro’s convictions regarding the communist ideology were prior to the revolution is up for debate.  However, as time progressed Castro seems to have morphed his revolutionary ideology with the Marxist ideology.  Perhaps the antagonistic relationship between Castro and the United States played a pivotal role in his ideological transformation.  His initial experience with communists in Cuba seemed to have little impact on his overall goal of social revolution.  As Szulc points out, “Fidel always knew where he was going, adjusting strategy and tactics according to changing political situations; he dreamed of sweeping revolution, but not of a Communist revolution defined by the Cuban Communist party.”[37] Yet, in Remembering America, Richard Goodwin recounts that, “’Fidel was always a communist,’” Che Guevara told me later in the summer of 1961, ‘but if he admitted it you would never had let us reach Havana.’”[38]   Whatever the origins of Castro’s ideological revolution, it is apparent his aims were as much political as they were social.  It is this pursuit of a social revolution in Cuba, a social revolution not entirely embraced by all Cubans, which has been the source of controversy and criticism in Cuba since Castro’s rise to power.

Having pacified most purveyors of Cuban intellect and culture, eliminating U.S. political and economic influence over Cuba, and securing Soviet political and military support, Castro’s aspiration for radical social change in Cuba could commence.  As Roger Reed points out, the goal of Castro’s government was far larger than a change in leadership, “The Cuban Revolution was much more than an effort to topple Batista and replace him.  Castro and most of the other rebels aspired to make radical changes in Cuba’s political and economic system aimed at ushering in a new era of social justice… They wanted to change the change the way people think.”[39] 

To build the foundations of his new society Castro set up special schools for both the military and civilians aimed at instilling and perpetuating Marxist-Leninist ideologies.  Those in the military who attended the ‘Troop Instructors Schools’ were considered to be on the front lines of Cuba’s social revolution.  It was they who would be the ears and eyes of the revolution and have the most direct contact with the Cuban people.  Tad Szulc writes that it was one of, “Castro’s principle(s) that the Rebel Army must play a leading ideological role in the revolution…”[40] While military personnel trained at their respective schools, young Cubans were also subject to a rigorous education in the ideology of the revolution.  Castro understood that indoctrinating young Cubans in the Marxist ideology was an advantageous means of perpetuating support for both the revolution and, ultimately, support for himself.  The Nico Lopez Central School became a conduit for future leaders of the Communist party.  Szulc explains that, “By late 1961 over thirty thousand persons went through the indoctrination schools…”[41] Castro strongly believed education was the key in achieving the “New Man” consciousness.  Referring to his attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953, Castro made the analogy that, “there remained the most difficult Moncada of all, the Moncada of the old ideas, of old selfish sentiments, of hold habits of thinking and ways of viewing everything… and this Moncada has not been completely taken.”[42]  Part of this “New Man” concept had much to do with the collective good.  Che Guevara would comment that to achieve this, “Individualism as such, as the action of a single person in the social environment, must disappear in Cuba.”[43] In this sense Castro’s revolution served as much a cultural means as a political one.  Castro would attempt to change the collective consciousness of the Cuban people so that the revolution would not only be one of political and nationalist ideals, it would raise a generation of Cubans who thought only of themselves as part of a collective Cuba and, through their actions, serve Cuba first and their individual desires second.

V. The Constitution of 1976

For Castro, however, it was not enough to reform and rebuild the consciousness of the Cuban people.  It was also necessary for Castro to codify into law the ideals and principles that the revolution encompassed.  In many ways the Cuban Constitution of 1976 represents what appears to be an enlightened document; it acknowledges past wrongs and lays the foundations for what some would perceive as an egalitarian society based on the concept of basic liberties and the collective good.  In its preamble the constitution alludes to the past struggles of Cuba and then lists various segments of the Cuban people who have, as a result of colonialism and imperialism, been exploited in the past.  The constitution begins, “We, Cuban Citizens, heirs and continuators of the creative work and the traditions of combativity, firmness, heroism and sacrifice by our ancestors: by the Indians who preferred extermination to submission; by the slaves who rebelled against their masters; …by the workers, peasants, students, and intellectuals who struggled for over fifty years against imperialist domination; … by those who defended the Revolution at the cost of their lives, thus contributing to its definitive consolidation…”[44]  The preamble appeals to that sense of national pride that Marti and Castro hoped to re-establish.  By alluding to Cuba’s difficult history, and Castro’s subsequent victorious revolution, the preamble would appear to encompass the collective struggle of Cubans and present the constitution as insurance that such struggle will never again be tolerated.  In this way, the constitution serves Castro’s sense of collective consciousness as he solidifies his hold on power. 

In that vain, the Cuban Constitution of 1976 also served a politically practical means as well.  To achieve his revolution Castro had to ensure that his form of government, with him as head of that government, would go politically unchallenged. As Michael B. Wise explains in the Cuba and Judicial Review that, “The Constitution of 1976 follows the Marxist-Leninist approach of its model, the Soviet Constitution of 1936.  It differs from other socialist models primarily by creating a strong president, permitting the same person to serve both as president of the Council of State and President of the Council of Ministers.”[45]  Under this structure Castro, as head of state and head of the government, had complete control over all functions of Cuba’s political reach and power.  The constitution also gives Castro sole power over the course of Cuba’s economy.  Stephan M. Bleisteiner suggests that the constitution helped to, “establish a centrally-planned, state-owned, and state-controlled economy.”[46]  The constitution would appear to be both a benevolent document while also maintaining strict control over the Cuban people. Because the constitution appears to straddle the fence between both the idealistic and the politically practical, it is worthwhile to explore both aspects of the 1976 Cuban Constitution a little deeper.

The Idealism of the 1976 Constitution

In its preamble the Cuban constitution declares that the State is “AWARE” that, “only under socialism and communism, when man has been freed from all forms of exploitation – slavery, servitude and capitalism – can full dignity of the human being attained;”[47] Castro believed that under a socialist form of government the revolution could best be achieved.  As Szulc points out, under the new constitution, “normal societal requirements would be reflected, but the existing structure or philosophy of the state would never be affected.  In this sense, the future of Cuba was set in granite.”[48]  This future, as Castro envisioned it, would be one in which generations of Cuba would enjoy the essentials for human development and sustainability.

            The constitution goes on to enumerate various liberties enjoyed by the Cuban people.  Article 1 indicates that Cuba is, “independent and sovereign” and that Cubans are entitled to “political freedom, social justice… and human solidarity.”  Article 8 “recognizes, respects, and guarantees religious freedom.”  Article 12 indicates that Cuba “adopts anti-imperialist and internationalist principles.”  Article 13 grants asylum to “those persecuted for their ideals or struggles for democratic rights against imperialism, fascism, colonialism… against discrimination and racism.”  Article 39 promotes free education and the enlightenment of the Cuba people.  Article 54 grants the right for the Cuban people to assemble and demonstrate.  The list of human rights and liberties enjoyed by the Cuban people are many.  However, it would seem the harsh reality is that despite the constitution serving as a noble foundation for individual freedoms, the Cuban people have rarely been free to exercise them.  Manuel Mesa, in his article The Cuban Anachronism: A Static Nation in a Dynamic World, point out that, “Cuban political prisoners have endured some of the most cruel, inhumane, and degrading prison conditions documented.”  They have been… “subjected to murder, physical and mental torture, insufficient and revolting food, denial of mail from relatives, forced labor, repeated beatings, serving their sentences naked, and imposition of political indoctrination.”[49] 

            It is also true that Cubans, despite the political freedom enumerated in Article 1 and the free speech enumerated in Article 53, have never had much say in their own governance.  According to Berta Esperanza Hernandez Truyol, “Although Cuba is a signatory to the Universal Declaration, its human rights practices violate internationally accepted standards.  Thus, Cubans do not enjoy basic human rights and freedoms but rather exist in an environment of fear and oppression. In fact, some Cuban laws directly contravene such rights as freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement, privacy, and due process.”[50]  The suppression of rights and liberties enumerated in the constitution would seem to contradict the spirit of the 1976 constitution.  What purpose is served by granting liberties in law if a government has no intention of allowing them to be exercised?  For Castro, it would seem the very existence of these liberties could be traced directly to the revolution he led in 1959.  For, had there been no revolution there would be no liberties.  Accordingly, exercising those liberties in a manner contradictory to the revolution is similar to biting the hand that feeds you.  To protect those liberties, Castro feels he must protect his socialist government.  The constitution of 1976 conveniently assists Castro in maintaining the status quo.

The 1976 Constitution as a Means of Maintaining Power

            The constitution of 1976 codifies into law the maintenance of Castro’s hold on power in Cuba.  By force of law it means to ensure that the socialist revolution, as interpreted by Castro, is the sole inspiration for governance.  Szulc writes that the constitution, “hailed Jose Marti, who ‘led us to the people’s revolutionary victory,’ then Fidel Castro, under whose leadership the ‘triumphant revolution’ was to be carried forward.  Thus enshrined in the constitutional text, Castro was in effect named Leader for Life as a law; the corollary was that it would be unconstitutional (and not just ‘counterrevolutionary’) to challenge him.”[51]  Apart from defining Castro’s role, the constitution also explains how the Cuban people are “represented.”  In Cuba’s Transition to a Free Market Democracy: A Survey of Required Changes to Laws and Legal Institutions, Matias F. Travieso-Diaz describes exactly how Cuba’s representative government is structured under the 1976 constitution. Travieso-Diaz writes, “To supervise state administration, the government created municipal, provincial, and national assemblies. Representatives for the municipal assembly were directly elected and these delegates then elected members of the provincial assembly who in turn selected members of the National Assembly of People's Power (National Assembly). However, the National Assembly, the single-chamber legislature created by the 1976 Constitution, is not a true legislative body and suffers from a ‘rubber-stamp image.’”[52]  Travieso-Diaz goes on to describe the National Assembly’s twice-annual meetings as perfunctory and never substantively debating legislation.  The National Assembly has never significantly altered or outright rejected legislation proposed by Castro and considered by him as necessary to the survival of the Revolution.  Apart from the National Assembly, the constitution also takes steps to alter the rights of Cuban people in challenging the State while maintaining the appearance of an open society.  Richard Schmidt and Kevin Goldberg write that, “The Cuban constitution provides the top layer.  The Constitution purports to protect fundamental freedoms; in reality these freedoms can be exercised only in the name of Socialism… The Cuban constitution is drafted to ensure that the priorities of the state triumph over the rights of the individual.”[53]  In this way, the constitutional rights enjoyed by the Cuban people would appear to end where open criticism of the State begins.

            Castro has maintained that as the embodiment of the Cuban people he speaks for them and with them in all matters related to the State. Article 3 of the constitution suggests that, “In the Republic of Cuba, the sovereignty resides in the people, from whom all of the power of the State emanates.”  This is a far different concept of governance than Cuba had been accustomed to.  It is a concept long before championed by Jose Marti during the rebellion against Spain and one that inspired Cubans to pursue their own freedom. Indeed, the preamble to the Cuban constitution alludes to the fact that Cuba is “GUIDED by the ideology of Jose Marti.”[54] By taking the spirit of Marti, the drive for a newfound nationalism and self-governance, Castro appears to manipulate his position as head of the State by suggesting that self-governance exists by nature of his sole representation of the Cuban people.  To that end, despite enumerating rights afforded to the Cuban people, the Cuban constitution also indicates that those rights end where the preservation of the socialist state begins.  Essentially, criticism of the socialist government structure is not tolerated.  Article 53 of the Cuban constitution declares that, Citizens have freedom of speech and the press in keeping with the objectives socialist society.”[55]  Article 9 seems to catch the irony of the constitution’s ideals by both enumerating the functions of the State as well as articulating the pursuits of the socialist ideal.  It declares that the State, “guarantees the freedom and full dignity of men” while also stating that the government, “channels the efforts of the nation in the construction of socialism.”[56]  Nicolas Gutierrez puts it more plainly by writing that, “Article 9 of the 1976 Constitution confesses that laws ‘are to echo only the will of the working people,’ and that only ‘socialist legality is binding on the State, which is to be officially controlled by the Communist Party. Since there is neither national nor international consensus as to what constitutes ‘socialist legality,’ Article 9 has the de facto effect of providing ‘constitutional’ cover for the official repression of all opponents of the communist police state.”[57]

By establishing himself as the sole leader of Cuba and the sole purveyor of Cuban thought Castro has been able to maintain his hold on Cuba’s government for over forty years.  The constitution also alludes to Cuba and its government after Castro.  As it is currently set up, upon Castro’s death his younger brother Raul becomes leader of the Cuban people.  Raul Castro shares Castro’s ideology and concept of governance, so that even in death Castro’s influence over Cuba’s future will continue.  Perhaps Schmidt and Goldberg summarize best Cuba’s government when they write, “In the pyramid structure of Cuban government, the common citizen sits at the bottom, subject to arrest at any time for violating vague laws drafted by a judiciary that reports directly to Fidel Castro… Arrested citizens are brought before judges elected by the people in elections with no opposition party candidates.  Their lawyers, along with the Attorney General trying the case, will be members of this single party as well, and will be sworn to uphold the ideals of Socialism.”[58]

The constitution has conveniently served as both a source of inspiration for the revolution and a tool for its continuing hold on power.  But what effects have, in the final analysis, has all this had on the Cuban people?  It is simple to analyze the disparity between the Cuban people’s constitutional rights and the realities of free expression and thought in Cuba.  It is also simple to distinguish “democracy” practiced in the United States with the “democracy” Cubans live under day to day.  Yet, apart from the politics, Cubans also require the same essentials of life that all individuals need to survive.  What is the status of Cubans today, 40 years under Castro?

VI. The Cuban People Today

            Despite the promise of an egalitarian society, there are segments of Cuban society that enjoy more privileges than the rest.  Hernandez Truyol points out that, “Surveys of Cubans in 1971 and 1986 show that there are ‘privileged groups’ in Cuban society.  The privilege can be based on status, i.e., having high political or military rank or being a foreign diplomat, or tourist, or having some connection, such as being a close family member, friend or lover of one who has privileged status.”[59]  Put another way, Franciso Valdes paints a very sinister picture of the greed the current elites exhibit in order to maintain their position.  Valdes writes, “Havana elites would rather sell the country to opportunistic and ravenous neocolonial capitalists from Canada and Europe – most noticeably, and some would say ironically, the old colonial master, Spain – and to accommodate the growing prostitution and sex tourism on the island from the ‘decadent’ societies with which Havana elites choose to conduct ‘business,’ than to accept even a modicum of political or economic decentralization.”[60]  In total contradiction to the constitution, the evidence would suggest that women and blacks have had significant trouble in achieving equality under Castro’s government.  Again, Hernandez Truyol writes, “… in reality, neither women nor blacks have achieved equality.  Although both groups have made some gains, they both largely have been excluded from the power structure.  Indeed, at a 1974 Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) Congress, Castro recognized that women’s equality was not yet a reality.”[61] As is evidenced, Cuba has not been successful in achieving its goal of an egalitarian society.  In the same way under Spain and the U.S. that a class of elite enjoyed the privileges of their position, so too in Castro’s Cuba do military and government officials enjoy privilege.  The privileged and powerful have not been eliminated under Castro’s leadership; they’ve simply changed from one group to another.  But apart from the continuing struggle for equality in Cuba, the Cuban people still face many other significant problems. 

            Economically, the Cuban people have long endured the U.S. embargo imposed by President Kennedy in 1962.  Relying heavily on Soviet support, Cuba was dealt a tremendous economic blow when the Soviet Union collapsed and, almost overnight, ended its subsidy of the Cuban economy.  Bell indicates that, “With the end of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union have grown to accommodate each other, and that accommodation has also neutralized Cuba’s importance.”[62]  Put another way, the fall of the Soviet Union sent Cuba’s economy into a nosedive.  Penalver writes that, “With the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc, beginning in 1989… the Cuban economy entered into a period of acute crisis… The economic crisis of the early 1990’s forced the Cuban government to enact a series of economic reforms.”[63]  Those economic reforms took a tremendous toll on the basic amenities the Cuban people had been accustomed to including health care, food, and public housing.  As a result of the economic crisis, the Cuban government called on Cubans to “make more sacrifices for the common good.  The additional sacrifices included going to rural areas to work on agricultural projects or participating in micro-brigades for no pay, but simply hope of governmental recognition and getting bonus points that might buy them a ‘reward,’ such as a vacation.”[64] 

            The lack of fuel for energy has led to blackouts that can last up to 16 hours a day.  In her most telling account, Hernandez Truyol writes that, “Some report the mood of the country as ‘desperate’ and ‘hopeless.’  There are claims that suicide rates have risen.  Increased attempts to leave the country were met with brutal force by the government… Crime, particularly ‘theft, black marketeering and economic fraud’ has reportedly increased.”[65]  Yet, despite all these problems, it is not entirely clear what type of government Cubans may actually want.  Many Cubans still adhere to the principles of the socialist revolution and are reluctant to completely change their form of government.  What may be clear is that Cubans aren’t necessarily willing to convert to a United States form of democracy.  As Jason Bell explains, “While many Cubans want change, Cubans on the island fear democracy… Cubans live between encroaching walls of worry.  They fear nothing will change soon to improve their decaying existence.  Yet they also fear the ground will suddenly shift, drawing them into a maelstrom of post-Castro pain.”[66]  Such an attitude is understandable, for with any significant change in government there is a volatile period of transition.  The Cuban people have been living a volatile existence most of their history, and though they may desire some new form of government or leadership, they fear change nonetheless.  This can be easily understood.  Having been promised basic liberties and an egalitarian society, the reality is that life under Castro has been restrictive and economically difficult.  On his many visits to Cuba Professor Michael Wallace Gordon has seen the Cuban people living not only under tough conditions, but also living with little hope of a future or those small components of life that motivate individuals to explore their creative and worthwhile endeavors.  He writes that the thing that most sustains him is, “my determination to see a Cuba that follows Jose Marti’s comment that ‘the spirit of a government must be that of the country.’ He did not mean that the spirit of country must be that of the government.  The spirit of this country seeks greater opportunity for Cubans to make choices, open a business and employ others, work in and be paid by a hotel, exploit an invention, or practice law… if my eyes, and ears do not deceive me, many others are waiting for these same opportunities.”[67]  Castro’s call for a “New Man,” one who understands and adheres to a collective consciousness and a collective good is a call even he has unheeded.  Castro has consistently focused his consciousness on maintaining his hold on power and oppressing those who challenge it.  Castro has taken the spirit of Marti and manipulated it in a way, and codified it in a way, that it would be hardly recognizable to Marti himself.   Castro has, in essence, taken his place in the line of governments that have exploited and oppressed the Cuban people for centuries. 

            Ana Otero, herself a Cuban refugee, writes poignantly, “To the Cuban people, the masses, people like my biological family, who have endured austere years of unprecedented rigors, it can no longer foster a spirit of hope.  Today, they confront a stark and bleak reality which forty years of failed promises and exhortations can no longer hide.”[68]  What the future holds for Cuba only time will tell.  Whether the continuation of Cuba’s oppressive government continues under Raul Castro or whether a post-Castro Cuba can pursue the liberties and self-governance long promised remains to be seen.  But perhaps there is reason to be optimistic, for the history of Cuba has long been one of struggle and adversity, and Cuba will continue to exist long after Castro and his revolution have passed into history.






Ana Otero, To the People Sitting in Darkness: A Resolve for Unity and Integration.  54 Rutgers L. Rev. 1133, 1143.


Berta Esperanza Hernandez Truyol, Out in Left Field: Cuba’s Post-Cold War Strikeout, 18 Fordham Int’l L. J. 15 (1994). 


Dan Gardner, America’s Thorn in Cuba’s Side.  3/5/05 Vancsun C1.


David M. Shamberger, The Helms-Burton Act: A Legal and Effective Vehicle for Redressing U.S. Property Claims in Cuba and Accelerating the Demise of the Castro Regime, 21 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 497 (1998).


Eduardo Moises Penalver, Redistributing Property: Natural Law, International Norms, and the Property Reforms of the Cuban Revolution. 52 Fla. L. Rev. 107, 112.


Francisco Valdes, Diaspora and Deadlock, Miami and Havana: Coming to Terms with Dreams and Dogmas, 55 Fla. L. Rev. 283 (2003).  


Loree Wilkerson, Fidel Castro’s Political Programs from Reformism to “Marxism-Leninism 11 (University of Florida Press 1965).


Jason Bell, Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act 25 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 77 (1993).


Manuel A. Mesa, The Cuban Anachronism: A Static Nation in a Dynamic World, 5 Fla. Int’l L.J. 247 (1990).


Matias F. Travieso-Diaz & Steven R. Escobar, Cuba’s Transition to a Free-Market Democracy: A Survey of Required Changes to Laws and Legal Institutions, 5 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. 379 (1995).


Michael Wallace Gordon, Thinking About Cuba: Post-Castro Began a Decade Ago, 15 Fla. J. Int’l L. 311 (2003).


Michael Wise, Cuba and Judicial Review, 7 Sw. J.L. & Trade Am. 247 (2000).


Nicolas J. Gutierrez, Jr., The De-Constitutionalization of Property Rights: Castro’s Systematic Assault on Private Ownership in Cuba, 5 U. Miami Y.B. Int’l L. 51 (1996-1997).


Richard Goodwin, Remembering America 148 (Little Brown & Company).


Richard Schmidt, Jr. & Kevin M. Goldberg, Castro – Alive and Well – Continues Forty Years of Controlling Cubans’ Speech, 16-WTR Comm. Law. 3 (1999).   


Roger Reed, The Cultural Revolution in Cuba. 9 (University of Geneva Press 1991).


Stephan M. Bleisteiner, Some Lessons for Cuba from the Legal Changes in Eastern Europe 3 U. Miami Y.B. Int'l L. 173 (1995).


Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 96 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 





Ana M. Otero, To the People Sitting in Darkness: A Resolve for Unity and Integration, 54 Rutgers L. Rev. 1133 (2002). 


Berta Esperanza Hernandez Truyol, Out in Left Field: Cuba’s Post-Cold War Strikeout, 18 Fordham Int’l L. J. 15 (1994). 


Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Nuestra America: Reinventing a Subaltern Paradigm of Recognition and Redistribution, 54 Rutgers L. Rev. 1049 (2002).


Dan Gardner, America’s Thorn in Cuba’s Side, 3/5/05 VANCSUN C1 (March 5, 2005).


David M. Shamberger, The Helms-Burton Act: A Legal and Effective Vehicle for Redressing U.S. Property Claims in Cuba and Accelerating the Demise of the Castro Regime, 21 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 497 (1998).


Eduardo Moises Penalver, Redistributing Property: Natural Law, International Norms, and the Property Reforms of the Cuban Revolution, 52 Fla. L. Rev. 107 (2000). 


Francisco Valdes, Diaspora and Deadlock, Miami and Havana: Coming to Terms with Dreams and Dogmas, 55 Fla. L. Rev. 283 (2003).  


Frederic Evenson, A Deeper Shade of Green: The Evolution of Cuban Environmental Law and Policy, 28 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 489 (1998).


Jason Bell, Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act, 25 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 77 (1993).


Jules Dubois, Fidel Castro: Rebel – Liberator or Dictator? (Bobbs-Merrill Company 1959).


Larry Luxner, An Exclusive Interview with Ricardo Alarcon, 5/1/04 CUBANEWS 8 (May 1, 2004).


Loree Wilkerson, Fidel Castro’s Political Programs from Reformism to “Marxism-Leninism (University of Florida Press 1965). 


Manuel A. Mesa, The Cuban Anachronism: A Static Nation in a Dynamic World, 5 Fla. Int’l L.J. 247 (1990).


Matias F. Travieso-Diaz, Key Environmental Legislation for Cuba’s Transition Period, 21 U. Pa. J. Int’l Econ. L. 331 (2000).


Matias F. Travieso-Diaz & Stephan M. Bleisteiner, Some Lessons for Cuba from the Legal Changes in Eastern Europe, 3 U. Miami Y.B. Int’l L. 173 (1995).


Matias F. Travieso-Diaz & Steven R. Escobar, Cuba’s Transition to a Free-Market Democracy: A Survey of Required Changes to Laws and Legal Institutions, 5 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. 379 (1995).


Max J. Castro, The Missing Center? Cuba’s Catholic Church with a Preface and a Proscript/Reflections, 19 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 493 (1998). 


Michael Wallace Gordon, Thinking About Cuba: Post-Castro Began a Decade Ago, 15 Fla. J. Int’l L. 311 (2003).


Michael Wise, Cuba and Judicial Review, 7 Sw. J.L. & Trade Am. 247 (2000).


Nicolas J. Gutierrez, Jr., The De-Constitutionalization of Property Rights: Castro’s Systematic Assault on Private Ownership in Cuba, 5 U. Miami Y.B. Int’l L. 51 (1996-1997).


Paul Bernstein, Cuba: Last Look at an Alternative Legal System?  7 Temp. Int’l & Comp. L.J. 191 (1993).


Richard N. Goodwin, Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties (Little Brown and Company 1988).


Richard Schmidt, Jr. & Kevin M. Goldberg, Castro – Alive and Well – Continues Forty Years of Controlling Cubans’ Speech, 16-WTR Comm. Law. 3 (1999).   


Roger Reed, The Cultural Revolution in Cuba (University of Geneva Press 1991).


Stephan M. Bleisteiner, Some Lessons for Cuba from the Legal Changes in Eastern Europe 3 U. Miami Y.B. Int'l L. 173 (1995).


Tad Szulc, Fidel; A Critical Portrait (William Morrow & Company 1986). 


Theodore Stellwag, Visit to an Island of Contradictions, 23-AUG Pa. Law. 10 (2001).








[1] Eduardo Moises Penalver, Redistributing Property: Natural Law, International Norms, and the Property Reforms of the Cuban Revolution. 52 Fla. L. Rev. 107, 112.

[2] Loree Wilkerson, Fidel Castro’s Political Programs from Reformism to “Marxism-Leninism 11 (University of Florida Press 1965).

[3] Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 96 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[4] Id. at 114.

[5] Ana Otero, To the People Sitting in Darkness: A Resolve for Unity and Integration.  54 Rutgers L. Rev. 1133, 1143.

[6] Dan Gardner, America’s Thorn in Cuba’s Side.  3/5/05 Vancsun C1.

[7] Richard Goodwin, Remembering America 148 (Little Brown & Company).

[8] Ana Otero, To the People Sitting in Darkness: A Resolve for Unity and Integration.  54 Rutgers L. Rev. at 1143.

[9] Richard Goodwin, Remembering America 158 (Little Brown & Company)

[10] Id. at 1146. 

[11] Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 288 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[12] Id. at 472. 

[13] Roger Reed, The Cultural Revolution in Cuba. 9 (University of Geneva Press 1991).

[14] Id.

[15] Id. at 46-66.

[16] Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 521 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[17] Id.

[18] Roger Reed, The Cultural Revolution in Cuba. 54 (University of Geneva Press 1991).

[19] Id. at 14.

[20] Id. at 36-41.

[21] Id. at 15.

[22] Id. at 41.

[23] Id.

[24] Loree Wilkerson, Fidel Castro’s Political Programs from Reformism to “Marxism-Leninism 65 (University of Florida Press 1965).

[25] Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 564 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[26] Roger Reed, The Cultural Revolution in Cuba 46 (University of Geneva Press 1991).

[27] Richard Goodwin, Remembering America 165 (Little Brown & Company 1988). 

[28] Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 489 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[29] Id. at 488-489.

[30] Eduardo Moises Penalver, Redistributing Property: Natural Law, International Norms, and the Property Reforms of the Cuban Revolution. 52 Fla. L. Rev. 107, 124.

[31] Jason Bell, Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act 25 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 77, 81.

[32] David Shamberger, The Helms-Burton Act: A Legal & Effective Vehicle for Redressing U.S. Property Claims in Cuba & Accelerating the Demise of the Castro Regime. 21 B.C. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 497, 501.

[33] Jason Bell, Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act 25 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 77, 81-82.

[34] Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 568 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[35] Loree Wilkerson, Fidel Castro’s Political Programs from Reformism to “Marxism-Leninism 66 (University of Florida Press 1965).

[36] Jason Bell, Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act 25 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 77, 78.

[37] Tad Szulc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait 50-51 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[38] Richard Goodwin, Remembering America 165-166 (Little Brown & Company 1988). 

[39] Roger Reed, The Cultural Revolution in Cuba  5-6 (Latin American Round Table Publishing 1991).

[40] Tad Szculc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait  474-475 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[41] Id. at 475. 

[42] Roger Reed, The Cultural Revolution in Cuba. 7 (University of Geneva Press 1991).

[43] Id. at 6.

[44] Cuban Const. Preamble

[45] Michael B. Wise, Cuba and Judicial Review 7 Sw. J.L. & Trade Am. 247, 258.

[46] Stephan M. Bleisteiner, Some Lessons for Cuba from the Legal Changes in Eastern Europe 3 U. Miami Y.B. Int'l L. 173, 186.

[47] Cuban Const. Preamble

[48] Tad Szculc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait  644 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[49] Manual A. Mesa, The Cuban Anachronism: A Static Nation in a Dynamic World 5 Fla. Int’l L.J. 247, 252.

[50] Berta Esperanza Hernandez Truyol, Out in Left Field: Cuba’s Post-Cold War Strikeout 18 Fordham Int’l L.J. 15, 80. 

[51]Tad Szculc, Fidel: A Critical Portrait  643 (William Morrow & Company 1986). 

[52] Matias F. Travieso-Diaz, Cuba’s Transition to a Free Market Democracy: A Survey of Required Changes to Laws and Legal Institutions 5 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 379, 389-390.

[53] Richard Schmidt, Jr. & Kevin M. Goldberg, Castro – Alive and Well – Continues Forty Years of Controlling Cubans’ Speech, 16-WTR Comm. Law. 3, 3.

[54] Cuban Const. Preamble

[55] Cuban Const. Article 53

[56] Cuban Const. Article 9

[57] Nicolas Gutierrez, Jr., The De-Constitutionalization of Property Rights: Castro’s Systematic Assault on Private Ownership in Cuba 5 U. Miami Y.B. Int'l L. 51, 61.

[58] Richard Schmidt, Jr. & Kevin M. Goldberg, Castro – Alive and Well – Continues Forty Years of Controlling Cubans’ Speech, 16-WTR Comm. Law. 3, 7.

[59] Berta Esperanza Hernandez Truyol, Out in Left Field: Cuba’s Post-Cold War Strikeout 18 Fordham Int’l L.J. 15, 95. 

[60] Francisco Valdes, Diaspora and Deadlock, Miami and Havana: Coming to Terms with Dreams and Dogmas, 55 Fla. L. Rev. 283, 293.

[61] Id. at 99.

[62] Jason Bell, Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act 25 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 77, 115.

[63] Eduardo Moises Penalver, Redistributing Property: Natural Law, International Norms, and the Property Reforms of the Cuban Revolution. 52 Fla. L. Rev. 107, 130. 

[64] Berta Esperanza Hernandez Truyol, Out in Left Field: Cuba’s Post-Cold War Strikeout 18 Fordham Int’l L.J. 15, 56. 

[65] Id. at 66-67.

[66] Jason Bell, Violation of International Law and Doomed U.S. Policy: An Analysis of the Cuban Democracy Act 25 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 77, 122.

[67] Michael Wallace Gordon, Thinking About Cuba: Post-Castro Began a Decade Ago, 15 Fla. J. Int’l L. 311, 318-319.

[68] Ana Otero, To the People Sitting in Darkness: A Resolve for Unity and Integration.  54 Rutgers L. Rev. 1133, 1149.