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UO HIST 407 - Wright Chapter 1 & 2

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Wright Chapter 1 & 2Fidel Castro’s Road to Power, 1952-1959Fidel Castro’s insurrection gave hope and influence to millions of Latin Americans to tryand do the same as he did in regards to rural guerrilla warfare in order to overthrow what usuallywas corrupt governments. Castro’s insurrection was not the first revolution that occurred in LatinAmerica, but how Castro perpetrated this specific revolution is what was the major influence.Castro’s revolution was broadly based across four categories that dealt with being anti-U.S.involvement/mendling, exploiting the harmful effect of the country’s dependence on sugar,collapsing Cuban society into multiple pieces, and convincing the public to see Cuba’s politicalsystem and institutions with low esteem. These categories were originally easy to convince theCuban citizens due to the exploitation of the sugar industry and banks by the United States. TheU.S. was not shy of showing their dominance of much of the Cuban economy due to the U.S.keeping economic control and leaving Cuba in a dependent position even without the PlattAmendment notwithstanding. Fidel Castro and anti-batista’s used these exploitations by the U.S.to fuel mass following against not only the U.S., but also against Cuba’s political system at thetime. After gaining his mass following, Castro had enough power to use his guerillas in astrategic way to combat against Batista who ultimately realized that he had no other choiceexcept to try and destroy the Castro rebels, however due to the extremely mountainous regions --Batista ended up giving more and more power/confidence to the Castro regime. The underdogstory of Castro’s not even 3,000 manned rebels that were able to successfully combat Batista’s40,000 strong military led to the Myth of the Heroic Guerilla. This story allowed much of thepopulation to be able to feel more familiar with the underdogs than the Batista regime and endedup legitimizing Castro’s revolution and increasing its popularity.Cuba: The Making of a RevolutionFidel Castro's new regime, through strong laid foundations early on, ultimately becamean inspiration to millions of Latin Americans and led to the U.S., LA elites and the political rightto become nervous of what could come. Cuba’s so called liberation from American dominance oftheir government had massive affects across LA. Although Castro ultimately implemented asocialism regime, his first two years contained the most influential revolutionary changes inregards to its new economy and society. Castro’s dual revolution -- domestic and internationalrelations-- were related, but not new ideas. Prior to Castro’s regime, the US’s dominance ofCuba’s economic health and wealth allowed the States to have major control of its domestic andinternational policy. Now that Fidel Castro rose to power with Anti-US sentiment, Washingtonmade the mistake of using economic leverage and threats rather than forcing Fidel intosubmission created an even greater anti-US retorect that convinced Cuba into needing radicalchange in order to be far more independent. Furthermore, Washington began sending the CIAinto Cuba in order to train and equip Cuban exiles. This tactic, although influential in some otherLA countries, increasingly set Washington up for failure as seen through the failed Bay of Pigsoperation. The continual failed CIA operations in Cuba gained even more popular support forCastro not only in Cuba, but across LA.Killing Zone Chapter 3Guatemala was in a state of conflict economically and societal by the 1940s. Prior to theUS intervention, 70% of the country was illiterate and there was very high racial polarizationbetween the indigenous population (mayans) and the Ladinos (spanish speaking and Europeanbackground). Life expectancy was less than 40 years while the population continued to grow. Ontop of that, its economy was fragile due to its dependency on coffee and tropical fruit. Humanrights were at a low due to disagreements among the government in regards to Jim Crow likelaws on plantations, free speech, rights of labor, and more. However, political life flourished withmultiple new political parties up and coming… one of them being a Communist organization(PGT). Having a Communist organization, even though there were barely any members and theyhad no significant position in the government, gave Washington the go ahead to have the CIAmonitor the party and the government as a whole looking for ties with Moscow. WithGuatemala’s new Decree 900 and U.S. Ambassador Patterson’s duck test, gave the CIA andWashington all they needed to come to the vague conclusion that Guatemala was heading tobecoming a comunist state. Castillos Armas (backed by the US) led a coup d’etat to overthrowthe current government of Guatemala and ultimately taking control/becoming president. The CIAnot only financed Armas’ campaign, but also shipped contraband arms in order to sway the coupto Armas/US’ favor. As Armas’ coup d’etat was becoming more and more successful, the CIAnot only continued to finance his regime, but used their own CIA base in Guatemala city tospread propaganda and psychological warfare across the region. With the new Eisenhoweradmin. taking place, Washington continued their committed anti-communist rhetoric and supportof Armas. This entire CIA backed operation relied on the context of the Cold War where itallowed the US to convince themselves that reforms such as Decree 900 “constituted aCommunist menace” (45). After the coup d’etat, studies found that the Guatemalan communistparty (PGT) had little to link to any Soviet Russian backing and led to people believing the US’foreign policy was to only protect the fruit company. Ultimately, the coup d’etat backed by theUS and its CIA proved that the the administration would ignore its non intervention policyIn order to “preserve” anti-Comunist dictators. This continued after Armas took control, seenthrough the “disposal list” that was drafted of which Guatemalans should be executed and howthousands of Arbenz supporters were murdered after he was exiled. The intervention of 1954 bythe CIA ultimately took away the nonviolent, political center of Guatemala and led the country toa new dark path that lasted until the 1990s.Chapter 4The Cuban Revolution was not only a revolution for Cuba, but became a revolutionaryinfluence to much of Latin America. Fidel Castro and his guerilla militants were successful atwaging


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