A History of Organized Labor in Cuba

By Robert J. Alexander | Go to book overview

6
Organized Labor in Castro’s Cuba:
Seizure of the CTC

About midnight December 31, 1958–January 1, 1959, President Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba, together with some of his leading associates. His flight not only ended Batista’s personal dictatorship, but set in train a process that was to convert Cuba into the Western Hemisphere’s first—and so far, only—Marxist-Leninist dictatorship. The new regime’s treatment of organized labor played a major part in this transformation.


EARLY EVOLUTION OF CASTRO REGIME

With the fall of Batista’s rule, Fidel Castro emerged immediately as the virtually unchallenged leader of the regime that took its place. Castro had organized the “Rebel Army,” the guerrilla group that started with a baker’s dozen of combatants in the Sierra Maestra mountains of eastern Cuba and developed into an army that after two years defeated the 25,000 man, supposedly “modern” army of Batista. However, the Castro victory also owed a great deal to the underground organization of the 26th of July Movement and several other clandestine groups, which had mobilized much of the nearly universal opposition to Batista that developed in the final phase of his regime. Dissident trade unionists, fighting against the alliance of he CTC leadership of Eusebio Mujal and his associates with Batista, played a major role in this clandestine struggle against the general-president’s tyranny.

Writing a couple of weeks after Castro made his triumphal entry into Havana, I commented:

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