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How Castro Was Able to Seize Power, the Steps He Took to Retain It and the Problems He and the Cuban People Faced During and After the Revolution.

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Castro capitalized on Cuba’s history of unstable government, ineffective leadership and the exploitation of Cuban people under foreign powers, which resulted in massed feelings of discontent against the pre-revolution powers within Cuba. By establishing a dictatorship, Castro was able to maintain his power by creating a personality cult of himself, through propaganda depicting Castro as Cuba’s savior, then by eliminating the opposition in show trials that would instill fear and finally by greatly improving the nation to fit the ideals of a socialist-borderline-communist nation. Initially as Castro was fighting for control in Cuba he faced many failures, namely his capture and imprisonment, then his exile to Mexico and finally his failed return where he was driven into the mountains. After seizing control Castro’s struggles did not end, he faced a failing economy, a high emigration rate and increased tensions between Cuba and neighboring nation the United States.

Castro relied upon the Cuban search for independence as a means to unite them in rebellion and bring him to power. Cuba had suffered long under the reign of foreign rule, firstly the Spanish and then the Americans. Both these nations upon occupying Cuba utilised it as an economic boast for their own gain, taking ownership of Cuban business and returning all profits to the homeland, resulting in low standards of living and widespread resentment against foreign power among the exploited Cuban populace. Cuba became a democracy, electing American “puppets” as their leaders and as if this wasn’t enough to insight rebellion, Batista ended democracy in Cuba through a military coup and further increased relations with America to the point of transforming Havana into a “playground” for American businessman, lining the streets with brothels and casinos. Castro took advantage of this situation, unifying Cuba in rebellion under his leadership, reliant upon the Cuban peoples desperation to escape the economic turmoil, lack of democracy and access to human rights, all of which Castro promised the people once his rebellion was successful.

Castro faced many issues during the road to successful rebellion and it was only by overcoming these challenges Castro was able to take control of Cuba. Towards the start of the revolution Castro was naive and underestimated not only the power of Batista but also his own popular support. 1953, Castro led 150 men, 120 to their deaths, against one of Batista’s military bases, he had planned to insight further followers to join his cause against Batista, granting him victory. However him and his 150 followers were left to contend with over 1000 government troops, the thirty that survived, including Castro, were captured and imprisoned. Two years later Castro was granted amnesty provided his exile to Mexico from there he remained focused on overthrowing Batista. Upon his return Castro once again demonstrated his naivety and lack of planning, arriving 2 days late, in the wrong place, in a small boat accompanied by 82 fellow revolutionaries and under fire from Batista’s forces and within three days his numbers had dropped to around twenty. From here Castro would take his survivors and flee into the Sierra Maestra Mountains, where he would remain resilient and rethink his tactics for overthrowing Batista.

While in the Sierra Maestra Mountain Range Castro persisted against Batista’s rule with a new approach, relying on Guerilla tactics and waiting for increased public support. Castro achieved popularity by utilising the anti-government media outlets, such as the pirate radio to create the image of Castro as the legitimate leader to unite all anti-Batista forces. To enhance his public opinion Castro also promised land reforms and the implementation of a democratic constitution upon Batista’s defeat. Castro in sighted mass public demonstrations against Batista’s regime in urban areas; these demonstrations were quelled by government troops through the use of lethal force, further degrading the public view of Batista. Castro’s popularity grew internationally when the “underground” radio station organised an interview between Castro and the New York Times. Following Batista’s falling popularity and his crimes against demonstrators, America withdrew her support of the regime and due to his heightened popularity Castro now had the means to overthrow Batista and within 5 months of the US withdrawing her support Batista had fled Cuba for the Dominican Republic. Demonstrating Castro’s resilience in the face of adversity and defeat and his means of seizing power.

During the lead up to the success of the revolution Castro had already began measures to ensure he would maintain control; the image the media was creating pre revolution was only the beginning, post revolution, following the fedralisation of the media Castro was presented as the savior of Cuba, fighting off the capitalist pigs of the United States. Castro also took measures to deter any further revolutionary action by instilling fear into Cuban society through the mock-trials and executions or imprisonment of the remnants of Batista’s regime, presenting a warning to anyone that defies Castro and his regime. However not all of Castro’s means of maintaining power resembled a dictatorship, Castro did increase public living standards, focusing the economy, increasing healthcare and education across the nation, bringing about a happier Cuba under Castro’s regime. By appeasing the nation, Castro was able to postpone democratic elections indefinitely without public uproar and thus ensure the continuation of his grasp of power.

Following Castro’s struggles in the overthrow of Batista his problems did not end, Castro faced a undeveloped economy, large scale emigration and heighten international tensions between Cuba, the United States and the Soviet Union, in which he would have to pick a side. Arrogance lead Castro to believe he could solve all of Cuba’s problems without advise, following the fall of international sugar prices Cuba’s economy crashed and once more Castro believed he could save Cuba, coming up with a series of “golden bullet” solutions to the crisis. This included implementation of economic schemes to increase sugar production with unrealistic goals that could not be achieved, a series of coffee plantations in and around Havana and even the genetic modification of cattle to create the “F1” cow, all of these solutions failed dismally at renewing Cuba’s economy and Castro would have to rely upon foreign intervention to save Cuba. Due to these failures and Castro’s ever harshening regime many Cuban’s felt their quality of life would be better abroad, many left for the United States and with the increased emigration rates, the economy continued to falter. Castro came to power following World War II and on the brink of the Cold War, Cuba being so closely positioned to the United States would naturally be forced to have some involvement with the war, either pro US or pro Soviet. Castro choose the Soviet bloc as they offered to assist in his economy and would support his Communist regime, the repercussions of this decision have created many issues for Cuba in the following decades, with the US maintaining a grudge against Cuba, enforcing an economic embargo on Cuba and a larger issue still for Castro was the lengths the American Central Intelligence Agency went to assassinate him. Castro became a victim to his own propaganda, believing he was the only savior for Cuba and this belief directly lead to the issues both him and the nation of Cuba would face following the revolution.

In final analysis Castro relied upon the instability of the regime before him to acquire power, he was able to maintain this power through the establishment of a dictatorship that would extol him and insight fear into those who question his authority. However Castro did face many issues both in coming to power, pre-revolution and maintain power, post-revolution and it was only through the unification of Cuba under his name and the Cuban peoples belief in Castro that his rule sustained.…...

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