Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Richard Roman




"Interpretations of the Cuban Revolution" is an attempt at comparing several major analyses of the causes and process of the Cuban revolution of 1959. Four authors were chosen to be considered: James O'Connor (The Origins of Socialism in Cuba); Boris Goldenberg (The Cuban Revolution and Latin America); Theodore Draper (Castro's Revolution: Myths and Realities and Castroism: Theory and Practice); Samuel Farber ("Revolution and Social Structure in Cuba 1933-1959"). There is a summary and brief critique on each of these authors followed by a comparison of their views on the major issues surrounding the revolution. The concluding chapter is a personal synthesis and interpretation based on the material covered plus several other major works on Cuba.

The conclusion reached about Cuba prior ta the revolution is that it was a fragmented society with weak social classes and organizations, and a political system that might be characterized as Bonapartist. The economy, social structure, and culture of the country had been greatly influenced in this direction by the American presence there. Fidel Castro was able to lead a revolution with a small group of declassed, activist revolutionaries, by conducting a successful campaign to gain the political support of the Cuban population. The group came from outside the conventional political structure but was part of the Cuban nationalist-populist revolutionary tradition. Castro was able to convince a majority of Cubans that he was a trustworthy leader who would fulfill his promises, thus forcing the dictator, Batista, to concede defeat. After the revolutionary regime was in power, Castro had great freedom to act because of his great popularity. He chose to take a radical socialist position because of a series of factors, including the desire to assert Cuban sovereignty by confronting the United States, the activist political background, and the momentum created by early measures of the revolutionary regime.

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