History of Cuba
Published by: Aaron Eugenio
Cuba is a nation of resilience. It has fought for its freedom and has spent a 100-years trying to establish food and energy security. Until 1898 Cuba was a Spanish Colony, bringing over 400 years of Spanish occupation. Cuba fought for independence and would only gain a quasi-independence in 1898 from the United States. The Cuban War of independence was succeeded with American intervention. This was in part with the coinciding Spanish-American War, where hostilities would lead to American intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The following decades until the 1950’s would have American backing and support of the Fulgencio Batista regime. In essence, a shift from Spanish colonization to American colonization occurred. During this period Cuba saw significant economic development. However, the economic development was only beneficial to the wealthy Cubans and for Americans. The distribution of wealth did not reach the average Cuban. Therefore, deepening the inequality in Cuba. As a result, Americans cheaply purchased Cuban lands and the American holdings on sugar plantations occurred to support American demand for sugar use.
This led to the Cuban revolution of 1953 and 1959, where Fidel and Raul Castro Ruz led a revolution. The Castro brothers successfully overthrew the Batista dictatorship and the Castro’s would eventually nationalize all land and business’. This included nationalizing American business’ and investments in Cuba. In combination to the Fidel’s socialist state and Communist leaning attitude – the United States established an embargo isolating Cuban commerce and travel from the United States.
The political and economic isolation of Cuba from the United States created an economic freeze for Cuba. Batista’s economic development was due to an economic reliance from the United States. Therefore, Cuba lost its biggest partner for petroleum, food, and technology. Without these resources Cubans did not have the petroleum to fuel its agriculture machineries, cars, and in essence its economy.
This led to the partnership between Cuba-Soviet Union. Two countries who contributed to the communist ideology. Once again Cuba was able to resume economic development with the support of the Soviet Union. Cuba received petroleum, business, and loans. This continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. This once again brought the Cuban economy in a stand still as its major partner could no longer maintain its established relations.
This cease of imports from the Soviet Union led to the ‘special period’ in Cuba where Cuba exhibited an economic depression. The collapse of Cuba’s heavily industrialized and import dependent food system collapsed and an economic crisis ensued in 1989. Cuba’s society was paralyzed from the loss of resources for its transportation, industrial and agricultural systems.