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Latin American Revolutions

Latin American Revolutions

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Latin American Revolutions

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  1. Latin American Revolutions Amos Bartelsmeyer John Moore

  2. Similarities The revolutions in Cuba and Nicaragua both stemmed from the corruption rife in the dependent capitalists systems .

  3. Pre Revolution • Cuba and Nicaragua both had dependent capitalist economies that rely heavily on the export of raw materials. Cuba almost solely relied on the export of sugar and oil to the United States. Nicaragua exported coffee and later cotton. • Profit from the export of these resources benefited a small elite group of landowners that had extensive political influence. • The rest of the population, while a huge group in number, was largely made up of unskilled workers and had little to no opportunity to advance beyond their current position. • The governments in power in both countries were riddled with corruption and nepotism.

  4. Revolution • The result of the policies of both dictators, Somoza and Castro, was a continuation of the corruption, poverty, and dependency on the export of raw materials that had been present in the previous governments • In Cuba, Castro traded one dependence for the other when he eliminated the US as a main exporter and turned to the Soviet Union for help. • The Somozas in Nicaragua continued to remain a export economy that operated behind a veneer of democracy.

  5. Differences The multiple revolutions in each country all result from the corruption and discontent associated with dependent capitalism, but what separates the histories of the two countries?

  6. Motivation of the Dictators Cuba Nicaragua Castro in reality did want to better the people of Cuba and free them from a dependent economy as can be seen when he attempts to create reforms through the Orthodox political party before fueling the revolution. But in his attempt to rid Cuba of US exploitation he also destabilized the economy. Somoza on the other hand was quite the opposite. His motivation was greed and personal benefit. Once in power he was easily able to exploit the “banana republic” to aid themselves. His motives were completely selfish in nature and saw the government as a source of income instead of something to aid the people. Somoza took any chance they could to get more money for himself even seizing earthquake relief funds in 1972.

  7. Origin of the Dependent Economies Cuba Nicaragua Cuba’s dependent economy was a result of heavy US-Cuban relations during World War II and afterwards. As a result Cuba became dependent on the sugar crop and US goods became dominant in Cuban marketplaces The prices on these goods were simply too high for the Cuban middle class resulting in early discontent. Nicaragua's troubles stem from the colonial era where Nicaraguan resources were exported to Spain. Since the economy was started to be a exporter of goods, it was all Nicaraguans were used to and relied on its heavy natural resources (such as coffee) to create funds for the government. Because Somoza was interested in personal gain, most of these funds were never used in improving the lives of Nicaraguans.

  8. The Fall of the Cuban Economy • Castro’s anger at US exploitation and desire to eliminate US influence in Cuba, while justified, would eventually bring the fall of the Cuban economy. • Castro attempted to take an import/export based economy and make it self sustainable by suddenly eliminating the US, the source of almost all Cuban trade and commerce. • Cuba was not prepared for self sufficiency and as a result had to revert to its old trade based economy. • With the US gone, Castro turned towards the Soviet Union who only saw Cuba as a socialist ally within the US’s sphere of influence, not an economic partner as the US did. • Without a significant trading partner and not being fully self sufficient, Cuba’s economy collapsed.

  9. The Nicaraguan Economy • In contrast to Castro, Somoza embraced the US trade agreement with Nicaragua as it allowed him to continue to exploit the system for his benefit. • Since no money was being put into the betterment of the Nicaraguan people they became angry and upset with Somoza. • To keep the people from revolting, Somoza obliterated any possible opposition with the National Guard.

  10. US Policy in Cuba • Prior to the Cuban revolution the United States was quite content with its exploitation of Cuba. • The US received Cuban sugar and resources and in return most products in Cuban Markets were American made resulting in a meaningful economic alliance. • But while all of America prospered, only the Cuban elite benefitted from this partnership resulting in a growing divide between the elite and the middle class. Thus the revolution was born. • As result the United States lost a valuable economic ally to Communism and gave the Soviet Union a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.

  11. US Policy in Nicaragua • The United States wanted to maintain its economic dominance but without causing a revolution as it did in Cuba. • The United States’ answer to this problem was the Alliance for Progress which attempted to bring democratic idealism to the government in order to improve the lives of the people. • Contrary to the United States intentions, the result of the Alliance was a dictatorship hidden behind the façade of democracy that used its economic benefits to gain power and money for themselves.