Cuban National Identitiy and Socialism

On Dec. 7, 1989 Fidel said: “In Cuba, the Revolution, socialism
and independence are indissolubly linked.” He was contrasting the Cuban
situation with Eastern Europe when he pointed out that “Cuba is not a
country in which socialism came in the wake of the victorious divisions of
I want to focus on this linkage: Revolution–socialism–independence.
We must understand how that linkage has been forged through
a long history of struggle for independence that has tempered a strong
Historically, Cuba had an island economy that was underdeveloped
long ago to be part of the dependent periphery in the world economic
system. As a result Cuba has not been able to develop an integrated
national economy that could give it the material basis for independence.
This dependency fueled a quest for national independence that has lasted
The Cuban Revolution and its socialist turn represented the
culmination of this struggle for national independence and dignity. Cuba
was the most highly neo-colonized country to have a revolution in the
twentieth century. Therein lies its historical importance. It was
precisely because Cuba was a neo-colony — a virtual U.S. plantation —
that it had a socialist revolution. The only way it could achieve
political independence and economic development was by breaking away from
Cuba’s struggle for national independence started in 1860’s when
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes freed his slaves and led them into Cuba’sfirst
decade-long war for independence from Spain (the “Ten Year’s War”
1868-1878). Cuba has been struggling for its independence ever since.
Cuba’s second war for independence (1895-1898) was inspired by Jose Marti
and led until his death in 1895 by him and the Dominican General Maximo
Gomez and the Afro-Cuban General Antonio Maceo. This time Cuba was
defeating Spain only to have independence snatched from it by the US
intervention in 1898 — thus beginning anothe…

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