The United States, Cuba, and Castro: An Essay on the Dynamics of Revolution and the Dissolution of Empire

By William Appleman Williams | Go to book overview

8
The Crisis of the Revolution II. Castro's Strategy to Resolve the Crisis and Sustain the Coalition

Not too surprisingly, particularly so soon after the events themselves, all the facts essential to a full, detailed analysis of the crisis are simply not available. There is enough information, however, to rectify at the outset one of the most general errors that have been made in existing interpretations of the Revolution. This involves two seemingly disparate events: Castro's visit to the United States beginning April 15, and his appearance and speech on May 2, 1959, before the Sixth Plenary Session of the Economic Council of the Organization of American States meeting in Buenos Aires. These were not unconnected actions. They were the crucial moves in Castro's original effort to resolve the basic dilemma of the Revolution and must be considered as part of the same operation.

Let us again explicitly define Castro's central difficulty. He was a radical revolutionary at the head of a coalition which included many moderates and some conservatives. The moderates and conservatives had by the end of March, 1959, begun to oppose even the modest reforms enacted up to that point. They had, by their economic actions, intensified an existing economic depression. Yet Castro was determined to carry through the Revolution to which he was committed--both in general and by his pledge to the Constitution of 1940--by industrial diversification and by executing a fundamental agrarian reform. He clearly hoped to do this without losing the basic support of the moderate elements in the revolutionary coalition.

The only way that Castro could reconcile those conflicting factors was by obtaining capital on terms that did not abort

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