THE CUBAN REVOLUTION begins by summarizing events in Cuba from its 1868 independence from Spain through 1958, the year before the revolution. While the author discusses politics, economics and social factors separately, these factors interact, and many of the same conditions are reported a number of times, from slightly different points of view.
Cuba in the twentieth century has always been reliant on sugar, its only major export. Independent Cuba quickly became dependent upon the United States as its principal market, and until the 1950’s, U.S. companies controlled the majority of the Cuban sugar industry. True independence could only be gained by diversifying the economy, an impossible task as long as the United States was effectively in control.
It is the author’s contention that by the time Fidel Castro was attempting revolution, the Cuban economy was already in the process of change, and reliance on the United States was becoming less extreme. She contends that the revolution succeeded principally because Fulgencio Batista, Cuba’s dictator, was hated, and that if a representative government had been in place, Cuba might have taken a far different course.
The book ends with a prediction that the Cuban government is in serious danger of falling. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Cuba has lost its strongest ally and most important trade partner. In addition, there is a suggestion that Castro himself is so central to Cuban Communism that it might not survive after his death. While these statements can certainly be called into question, THE CUBAN REVOLUTION does make a clear, logical case for them.